Dr. Ketland, a lecturer and Fellow in philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford, asked me to share the following statement, drafted on March 25, 2014, relating to the events we originally noted a few weeks ago:
I knew Ms Charlotte Coursier, formerly Ms Charlotte Marklew, since 2008 at the University of Edinburgh. In June 2011, on graduation, she emailed me, “you are still the person who saved my life and my degree!". I applied to Oxford in 2011, she in 2012. During her time in Oxford, concerns about her welfare were reported to the Faculty, but, as far I as know, were ignored. Following her suicide in June 2013 after her boyfriend ended their relationship, Oxford conducted an inquiry into her death which concluded in October 2013. At that time the University told my College that my involvement in the matter was a minor affair, and the Coroner's office had provided repeated assurances (until a week before the inquest) that my name would not be mentioned.
However, behind the scenes a group of graduate students, including some of the signatories of the Open Letter of 5 March 2014 [link added by BL], had been campaigning the University to have my contact with students suspended and me fired. My supervisions were reassigned, my seminars were postponed and then reassigned to my College, with the lead author of the Open Letter boasting about this on Facebook. My wife complained to a College Principal about the distress and intimidation she felt her family were being subjected to.
From late 2013, Oxford proceeded with a prosecution, involving failures of due process and proportionality, despite the support I received from my College and several members of the Faculty. The prosecution ignored my evidence, detailed email documentation, a police incident note concerning an assault against me, application records, and eleven witness statements, covering the period November 2008 up to the present. As of mid April 2014, I am terminated from Oxford. The reasons stated amount to this: that I told a student to stay away from me and then responded to her refusal to do so; that I pointed out to a witness at Oxford her harassment of me while it was happening; and that I complained to Oxford of false allegations being made against me.
For the time being, I do not intend to comment further on the case.
I will post statements from others who have information about or care to comment about this matter.
UPDATE: An Oxford philosopher writes:
I'm writing to you about the statement you've just posted by Jeff Ketland. I want really seriously to urge you to reconsider your decision to "post statements from others who have information about or care to comment on this matter." I'm concerned that this is a very bad idea. I'm someone who could post a response; so are various grad students, including the ones he accuses of smearing him here. If we don't respond, the implication may be that his side of the story is the whole truth. If we do, I just honestly can't see any good coming of it - just a horrible public mud-slinging session that will surely lead to further demoralizing the students involved.
I say this obviously partly based on my knowledge of the case, but I think I'd say the same a priori. I very much respect you using your blog to discuss questions of policy, due process, etc, in harassment cases but I am not at all convinced that it's a good forum for a battle over the facts of a case.