In a debate over a research examining Gonville and Caius College’s connections to slavery, a Cambridge University professor ‘bullied and harassed a junior female colleague and urged her to “sit down lady” and “shut up.”
Joe Herbert, 86, is accused by junior colleague Bronwen Everill of engaging in ‘unwanted behavior in the form of bullying and harassment connected to the protected feature of sex’ during conversations about the report.
His actions are said to have included repeatedly’shushing’ Ms Everill at a meeting in which he objected to the report, as well as urging her to’sit down lady’ and’shut up’.
According to Varsity, a grievance commission at Gonville & Caius College determined that the charges were “fully grounded.”
It arose after a witness said Herbert, professor of neurology, was sexist toward Ms Everill, who was in charge of supervising the enslavement report.
Following the encounter, Herbert wrote her a series of letters in which he said, ‘You are plainly avoiding any sensible dialogue and one can only infer an obvious conclusion from that.’
‘I ordered you to stop up because you were yelling at me,’ said another.
You weren’t aiming to communicate anything. Do you still refuse to have a reasonable conversation?’
Herbert is not said to dispute making the statements or sending the emails, but he does not feel he is a sexist.
‘I don’t believe the word woman is an abusive phrase,’ he told the committee.
The grievance committee has suggested that the professor apologize to Ms Everill and that no formal disciplinary action be taken against him.
Herbert is a well-known personality in the college, having written works such as The Minder Brain in 2008 and Testosterone: sex, power, and the urge to win in 2015.
Following academic pressure, the enslavement study was released on the College website last week.
‘Caius alumni, fellows, and the College had strong linkages to slavery and slaveholders and benefitted from investments and benefactions related to enslavement and coercive labor,’ it found.