Morgan facing potential eviction

A senior lecturer in the English department in Trinity has been temporarily suspended from teaching due to an ongoing disciplinary hearing.

A senior lecturer in the English department in Trinity has asked for leave from teaching due to an ongoing disciplinary hearing in College.

Dr Gerald Morgan was the subject of a leaked report last year which recommended that he be suspended and evicted from his rooms. The hearing is now under way but as it has spread out into term time, Mr Morgan will not teach his Freshman or Sophister options in the English department.

Last year, Trinity News came into possession of a portion of Dr Morgan’s disciplinary report. The suspension proceedings which the report mentioned began in May and are ongoing. Dr Morgan told Trinity News that he sat before a disciplinary panel on May 6, May 26, June 25, June 26, September 1-5, September 29, September 30 and October 6 and he faces four more disciplinary hearings this week. He explained that he is unable to teach as the hearings ‘ran into term time’. He is currently on an ‘alternate leave of absence’ but could potentially be teaching next term depending on the outcome of the hearing.

The current disciplinary action relates to an incident in 2002 when Dr Morgan sent e-mails to a number of staff members claiming that he was more qualified for a position on a lecturer nominating committee than his colleague Professor Scattergood. The then senior dean Cyril Smith, recommended a three-month suspension for Dr Morgan.

Dr Morgan became the subject of dispute a few days later when a female colleague made a sexual harassment complaint against him. Dr Morgan responded by sending an e-mail to a large number of Trinity employees referring to the claimant as ‘dumb without the virtue of being blonde’. The three-month suspension was enforced followed by a ban from the Arts Building for that period. Dr Morgan resigned as a Fellow in protest. Dr Morgan refused to sit before a disciplinary panel for breaking the anonymity of individuals in alleged sexual harassment cases. Instead, he issued High Court proceedings seeking an injunction in respect of the hearing. He was unsuccessful in both this and again when the proceedings were brought the Supreme Court. Reports suggest that this action cost the College anywhere between €100,000 to €500,000 in legal fees. Dr. Morgan finally settled with the disciplinary panel after he made a formal apology to the woman in question and retracted the controversial e-mail.

The issue cropped up once again when Dr Morgan insisted that two of his senior colleagues were preventing him from clearing his name. He issued another e-mail to over 150 Trinity staff members calling for the resignations of the Senior Dean Professor Smith and the College Secretary Mr Michael Gleeson.

Sophister students in the Department of English were told last week that Dr Morgan’s optional Sophister course was no longer available. He was due to teach two ‘Romance’ literature courses, one entitle ‘Chaucer’ and the other ‘Gawain and the Green Knight and Piers Plowman. One has been cancelled entirely and the other has been taken over by a different lecturer.

Speaking to Trinity News, Dr Morgan said ‘I’ve been teaching for 40 years and I never envisaged my last two years sitting in front of a panel for bringing Trinity into disrepute.’ He asserted that this case is currently causing and will continue to cause the College a lot of money. He has been living in rooms on campus since 1990. He currently lives in New Square but he may lose this right if the disciplinary hearing rules against him. Last year Dr Morganv told Trinity News that perhaps the intention is for him to retire before he is required to do so at age 70. This year, he said that he is ‘prepared for whatever happens’. He was anxious to stress ‘I am bound by confidentiality in respect of the proceedings. Any member of staff can sit in, but they are also bound by confidentiality.’

Dr Morgan explained the proceedings of the current disciplinary panel. 30 members of College are called as potential jurors in disciplinary cases, and four of these are selected by lot, remainingas the jurors for the entire case. Dr Morgan, in describing the system, said ‘it’s all brilliant’.

The outcome of this case could result in the dismissal of Dr. Morgan, an incident almost unheard of in Irish academia. Dr Morgan told Trinity News that the prosecution case has just finished and now his defence is about to begin.

This article was edited on October 22 to include the following clarifications:

  1. Dr Gerald Morgan has not been suspended from teaching. At the request of Dr Morgan he has been granted study leave for Michaelmas Term 2008 and alternative arrangements for teaching have been put in place for the term.??
  2. The article stated that a woman made a complaint of sexual harassment against Dr Gerald Morgan. College wished to make it clear that he was never charged.?
  3. The College never brought Dr Gerald Morgan to either the High Court or Supreme Court. In December 2002, disciplinary proceedings under the College statutes were invoked against Dr Morgan. Dr Morgan issued High Court proceedings seeking to injunct a disciplinary hearing in respect of those charges. He was unsuccessful in this regard in the High Court and Supreme Court.?