Goldsmiths reinstates suspended academics after investigation outcome

Goldsmiths, University of London. Pic: Giannino Arrigoni

Two academics from Goldsmiths, University of London have been reinstated following an independent investigation which found there was no grounds to uphold their suspension.

The head and deputy head of the department of media, communications, and cultural studies (MCCS) Des Freedman and Gholam Khiabany were found to have “no case to answer” by the outcome of an independent investigation.

“Staff shouldn’t be treated like this, not ready to move on just yet,” Freedman wrote on Twitter after the outcome was announced.

The two academics were originally suspended on July 5 due to an email they cowrote to students during a dispute between the institute and University and College Union that resulted in strikes and a marking boycott at the university.

A petition in support of their reinstatement which was signed by over 5,000 people, said the email was only meant to “clarify the position of students who had not been kept adequately informed by the university”.

A banner in support of Freedman and Khiabany’s reinstatement seen on October 6 UCU meeting Pic: Giannino Arrigoni

Khiabany and Freedman were allowed back to their roles as lecturers and researchers on August 15, but their reinstatement as head and deputy head of the department was put off until the outcome of an independent investigation.

“Vindicated & reinstated. 115 days later and thanks to amazing solidarity from around the world, Goldsmiths has confirmed that there is “no case to answer” against me & @gkhiabany for doing our job & supporting our students,” Freedman announced on Twitter.

The news was received with great enthusiasm on the platform where many academics, UCU activists and politicians retweeted and commented the thread.

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who previously showed his support for the pair’s reinstatement at a union meeting covered by ELL, celebrated the news on Twitter.

Goldsmiths UCU reacted with mixed emotions as they re-shared the news on the platform: “We are relieved but also very angry that Des and Gholam were ever subjected to this blatant TU [trade union] victimisation. A more detailed response from us will follow soon.”

An update issued by the department of MCCS stated: “The College respects and will abide by the findings of the investigation… Professor Des Freedman and Dr Gholam Khiabany have been immediately reinstated to their substantive posts”.

A spokeswoman for Goldsmiths told Eastlondonlines: “We are unable to comment on any confidential internal matters.”

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