Message from the Chair of Council and Provost to ICU leaders
Dear Abhijay, Shervin, Ross, Sam and Michaela,
Thank you for your letter, and for your advocacy on behalf of the student body. We understand your concern.
There was a full independent investigation into the allegations. This investigation was in turn followed by a disciplinary process involving some of the individuals who were subject to the whistleblowing allegations. All disciplinary processes of this nature are kept confidential.
This means we are limited as to how much information we can give, beyond saying that the college accepted all recommendations made during the process and has acted upon them. However, we would like to share with you as much further detail as we can, in response to your questions.
You asked the College to “shed more light on the allegations mentioned in the email”. Those allegations concerned a dysfunctional culture and alleged bullying of some staff members.
You asked if “it would be possible for a redacted version of the report ….be made available publicly”. In line with our usual processes, the report was prepared, and witness statements were taken, on the understanding that the investigation report would be kept confidential. It is never the case that we publish disciplinary investigation reports.
You asked about the recommendations made following the investigation. Those recommendations covered actions for the College and the individuals involved to improve transparency and management.
You asked whether all the recommendations which were made were accepted, and for information about the progress implementing these recommendations. We can confirm that all of the recommendations have been accepted by the parties involved, and are being implemented. The implementation covers both operational and cultural changes at the centre of the organisation, and will ensure that the culture of Imperial changes for the better.
Those changes include lessons learned during the pandemic on how we collaborated, brought together different parts of the community and found new ways of working. These encompass:
- Improving the ways we work together, using community forums, such as HoDs lunches, for discussions and exchange of ideas.
- Improving governance and internal communications - taking more opportunities to engage staff and students - to inform our decision making.
- Aligning executive committees with Council committees; coordinating President and Provost Boards and their engagement with key stakeholders like Heads of Department;
- Aligning Silver, Gold and President’s Board communications during crises.
- Improving relevant HR processes.
We would also welcome the opportunity to talk through some of this work with you to get your insights into how we can improve further.
You also asked about the College’s zero-tolerance policy on bullying and harassment. The process clearly followed the guidelines as laid out in our whistleblowing and disciplinary procedures. Our policy is clear that zero-tolerance means any complaints must not be ignored and will be thoroughly investigated. That’s exactly what happened.
Thank you for your continued leadership and work to improve the student experience at Imperial.
Chair of Council
Professor Ian Walmsley
Clarification, 18 December: The above message referenced Imperial’s policy on zero tolerance when it should have referenced Imperial’s established practice and guidance on zero tolerance, which remain in place. The message cited an erroneously updated HR document, which has since been corrected and remains under review.