Gerald Morgan: faced dismissal

A TRINITY College lecturer at the centre of an eight-year harassment investigation involving a female colleague has said such claims should be handled by gardaí and not college authorities.

Dr Gerald Morgan (67) who faced possible dismissal from Trinity, was commenting on the case of Dr Dylan Evans who sparked international debate by showing a female colleague material on the sex life of bats.

Evans now faces fresh disciplinary procedures at University College Cork after details of his disciplinary ruling appeared in the media last week.

But having been involved in a very similar case, Morgan said it should not be left to university authorities to investigate and that there is now a far more litigious culture of harassment complaints than ever before.

He recently received a two-year probation period at Trinity after a stand-off involving both the High Court and Supreme Court, which cost the university in the region of €500,000.

He said he was accused of physical intimidation and harassment of a female colleague, but no proof was ever offered by the college and he was now seeking an apology.

Trinity College declined to comment on whether it had provided evidence to support the claim or whether it intended to retract the allegation. It said in a statement that it has a policy not to comment on individual staff cases, but "we wish to state that there are substantial inaccuracies in the comments that you have attributed to Dr Morgan in relation to the outcome of the most recent disciplinary panel and his current relationship with the college".

"The fact of the matter was that I won it at the disciplinary panel," insisted Morgan, who is due to retire from teaching at the end of the year.

He said it was time for serious complaints to be handed to gardaí and not left to internal disciplinary panels.

"This thing in Cork has got completely out of hand. I don't think these things are a matter for colleges, I think it is a matter for the guards," he said. "These things are too serious to be dealt with by university machinery because it gets out of hand. It's very hard to see how you can set up an independent panel in these matters because of the inter-relations of the staff."

Morgan said processes to defuse such situations should be put in place before formal procedures were adopted.

"The charge of sexual harassment is a huge thing and I don't think the colleges are equipped to deal with that," he said. "If someone is guilty of sexual harassment than they should be fired but this ought to go to the guards and I think this would stop a lot of complaints."