A senior academic has quit his teaching post at one of Scotland’s oldest universities after 35 years claiming “a culture of misogyny is flourishing’ within the medical school.
Dr James Going, who was made an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow in 2016, likened its apparent failure to tackle the problem to, “putting a sticking plaster” on a festering abscess.
In a strongly worded open letter to university Principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, he writes: “I no longer care to be associated with the university”.
The Herald revealed last month that the university launched an inquiry following complaints levelled against Professor John Paul Leach, head of undergraduate medicine and a consultant neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
The investigation is understood to centre on allegations of gendered bullying and discrimination involving female academics.
Issues raises are said to include men taking credit for female academics’ ideas and nepotism.
Complaints were also made by students about a slide depicting the female brain that was shown to medical students.
The university said at the time that the inquiry had not reached its conclusion.
In his letter Dr Going, a consultant pathologist who was teaching a third year course until last week, writes: “A culture of misogyny is flourishing in the Medical School at the University of Glasgow.
“I and others have been waiting for evidence that people with authority in the university have the will and the backbone to do something effective about it.
“We are still waiting.
“The culture of an organisation is determined by the worst behaviour the leaders are willing to tolerate. What must we deduce about the leadership in the University of Glasgow.
“Surely it cannot be true that people in positions of authority in the University are more concerned to protect what they imagine to be its good name, than with justice.”
He goes on: “Supine acquiescence is doomed to fail: an established abscess requires incision and drainage, not a sticking plaster.
“The BBC discovered this in painful and public manner.”
Dr Going said he had had “the honour” to teach medical and other students from 1988 as senior registrar, senior lecturer from 1991 and honorary clinical professor from 2015 until last week.
He added: “I no longer care to be associated with the University of Glasgow, its College of Life Sciences or its Medical School.
“I am resigning in protest from the position of honorary clinical professor,which I have held for the last seven years.”
A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said Dr Going’s honorary professorship ended last year and said it “condemns discrimination of any kind”.
In response Dr Going said: “They didn’t remind me when it expired in 2021 but were happy for me to continue teaching unpaid in 3rd year until last week.”
A slide of the female brain shown by Professor Leach to medical students led to complaints of sexism from his students.
In it a small area is labelled ‘sex initiation’ gland while driving skills and ‘realisation of wants vs needs’ are shown as dots. An image depicting the brain of fictional TV character Homer Simpson was also shown to students.
After the Herald published an article Prof Leach later issued a statement on Twitter apologising “unreservedly” and claimed the image had been uploaded in error.
However, a former student responded claiming the slide had in fact been used repeatedly for years in lectures.
The Scottish Feminism Network said the image went “beyond banter”, saying it was characteristic of “insidious” behaviour that risked undermining the confidence of female undergraduates.
In January Morag Ross QC was appointed by the university to carry out a review of the institutions’s approach to addressing gender-based violence including harassment and harmful practices that are “committed disproportionately by men against women”,
Interviews have been carried out with staff and students.
The General Medical Council’s code of conduct for doctors states that patients and colleagues should be “treated fairly and without discrimination”.
Earlier this month a damning inquiry into the Royal College of Nursing, the world’s biggest nurses’ union, exposed bullying, misogyny and a sexual culture where women are at risk of “alcohol and power-related exploitation”.
A 77-page internal report by Bruce Carr KC, found RCN’s senior leadership has been “riddled with division, dysfunction and distrust” and condemns the male-dominated governing body, known as council, as “not fit for purpose”.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen pledged to overhaul the college following the review.
A source told The Herald: “Other institutions like the RCN are robustly tackling misogyny, yet the UoG is failing to do so despite pleas from staff and students. Why are the failing women?”
A spokesman for the University said: “The University of Glasgow condemns discrimination of any kind and is committed to promoting equality and diversity across its community and campus.
“The University treats all complaints seriously, investigates appropriately, and addresses all recommendations arising. We do not comment on individual cases.”
An employment tribunal judge is considering evidence in a case involving a female academic at the University of Glasgow who claims she was passed over for a promotion in favour of a male colleague.
Jeanette Findlay, an applied economist, presented data showing that as of 2020 only 11 per cent in senior roles within her department of economics were female, with 36% in social sciences and just 16% in science and engineering.
The university claims Ms Findlay simply failed to meet the criteria for promotion in 2020.