(E-mailed on 11th November 2002)

Dear Editor,

Michael Cohen and Colwyn Williamson (opinion, THES 8 November) rightly expose UMIST's let's-make-it-up-as-we-go-along "internal inquiry" into Mona Baker's activities.

Like Mona Baker, I have been the target of a Zionist "witch-hunt" ever since I joined the academic boycott of Israel ("Jewish fury over website sparks university rethink", THES 1 November). Unlike her, however, I am employed by an institution which takes the statute on academic freedom seriously. David Allen, the Registrar and Secretary of the University of Birmingham, has stated that I have done nothing wrong and that the University has no plans to remove my web pages on Israel and Palestine. At no time have I been threatened with disciplinary or quasi-disciplinary action.

As an officer of Birmingham AUT I will no doubt continue to have disagreements with the University management on all kinds of matters, including its plans to "review" its support for staff personal web-sites in general, which poses a more subtle threat to academic freedom in the longer term. Nonetheless, on this occasion I would like to express publicly my thanks to the University for standing up to bullies, as well as to all those colleagues who have sent me messages of support.

Yours faithfully,

Sue Blackwell
Department of English,
The University of Birmingham,

Phone: +44 - 0121-414-3219
Fax: +44 - 0121-414-5668


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It was last updated on 11th November 2002.