Hope University’s Response to AWOL

Posted on 29 October 2013 by


Please note: the post Martin Smith Given PhD Place at Liverpool Hope University, posted on the 21st October 2013, is a guest post, which we at AWOL are happy to host but did not write. Contrary to many assumptions, AWOL did not initiate, and does not control, the Delta Removals campaign, though again we are pleased to link to it and to inform our members and readers of its actions.

Since this post went online, we have edited it to provide clarifications for those who, unlike our regular readers, find it difficult to distinguish between expressions of categorical fact and speculations based upon reasonable interpretations of suspicious circumstances. Graham Donelan, Hope University Secretary, revealed himself to be one of these when he informed AWOL by e-mail that Hope University or Michael Lavalette may wish to take legal action over the guest post.

Donelan’s e-mail was publicised on facebook before it was even sent to us, so I take it he and Hope University have no objection to me responding to it equally publicly. I reproduce the text here for the reader’s convenience:

To the owners of the Angry Women of Liverpool website,

Over the last week your website has made a series of allegations about Professor Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University and the appointment of a PhD student.

As Professor Lavalette knew one of the candidates for a part-time PhD place he backed off from the recruitment process. Two proposals were reviewed by four professors (three from Hope and one from an external university) and four members of staff in the Social Work Department. For clarification, none of these people were members of the Socialist Workers Party.

The eight reviewers all thought the University should accept both proposals.

The two applicants were then offered places at Liverpool Hope University. One of these is a qualified social worker and is based in the Department of Social Work. The other is based in another Department at Liverpool Hope.

The version of the appointment of these PhD students that has appeared on the web is therefore quite inaccurate. The University and Professor Lavalette believe it is libellous and they  would ask you to remove your post and stop your campaign. The University and Professor Lavalette reserve the right to pursue legal means if you fail to do so.

Kind regards

Graham Donelan

University Secretary
Liverpool Hope University

As it shows, Donelan is very keen to stress that Lavalette was not involved in the decision-making process that led to Martin Smith’s appointment. Strangely, though, he does not deny that the university is funding Smith’s Ph.D, or that Smith is involved in teaching in the department, which you would think would be the first points the university would wish to clarify if they were untrue. Given this, it would be reasonable to speculate (do you see how that works?) that the presumptions on these points expressed in the post under discussion are true.

We noticed that the major point the post on our site aimed to address – the fact that students and staff at Hope University may be in danger – was not mentioned, and Hope University has not yet seen fit to express the slightest concern about Smith’s position or the welfare of women on its campus. This e-mail made Hope University’s priorities, or lack thereof, very clear. Delta Removals will be asking for more clarifications of these issues on Wednesday, so Hope University will have ample opportunity to clarify matters to anybody with concerns.

I presume (I wouldn’t want to fall foul of libel laws by stating it categorically) that they will be very happy to answer your questions.

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