Leading politician accuses York professor of offering her higher grades in return for sex

The University of York. Photograph © Johnteslade on Wikipedia
27 Jan 2017 @ 6.31 pm
| News

The University of York has described as “extremely concerning” allegations by a leading politician that she was sexually harassed by a former professor there.

Former deputy leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman studied politics at the university during the 1970s.

A lifetime campaigner for women’s rights, the MP became Britain’s first ever Minister For Women after Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister in 1997.

In her forthcoming autobiography, A Woman’s Work, published on February 2, she makes serious allegations against one of her lecturers during her time in York.

Serious allegations: Harriet Harman. Photograph @ University of Salford Press Office on Wikimedia

In the book she says her course tutor Professor TV Sathyamurthy told her she was a borderline candidate and would either obtain an upper or lower second – a 2:1 or 2:2, MailOnline reports.

He then allegedly told her that he could guarantee she would get a 2:1 in return for sleeping with him.

Miss Harman said she refuted his advances, writing: “I was repulsed by him.”

Professor Sathyamurthy died in 1998 aged 68. His distinguished career as an academic included 30 years of teaching at York.

Ms Harman, who was a member of Goodricke College, graduated from the University of York in 1972.

Not tolerated

Goodricke College today. Photograph © John Robinson on Flickr

Today’s leaders at York University acknowledged the seriousness of the historic allegations.

Dr David Duncan, registrar and secretary, said: “The allegations made by Ms Harman are extremely concerning.

“The University of York strongly condemns all forms of sexual harassment and will not tolerate it among staff or students.”

He said things had moved on considerably since Ms Harman’s time as an undergraduate:

Behaviour of the sort described by Ms Harman would constitute gross misconduct and would lead to dismissal.

We have an extensive support system in place for students and staff who are concerned about harassment of any kind.

We are also in the process of developing new guidance following publication of the recent UUK report on violence against women, harassment and race hate.