Sacked Sussex lecturer’s abuse scandal investigated in new University report

It identified areas of both good and poor practice

The University of Sussex today released a report into the domestic violence case involving former senior lecturer Lee Salter and former student Allison Smith. The case review was ordered by Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Tickell on his first day in office, and conducted by Durham University’s Professor of Criminology, Nicole Westmarland.

The review was commissioned in order to identify poor and good practice in the University’s handling of the case, as well as to make constructive changes to future policy and practice. An official investigation was demanded by staff and students in the wake of media attention and public outcry, culminating in an online petition to have Dr Salter discharged from the University.

Professor Westmarland

The findings of the report identified that the University failed to follow and practise its own policies and procedures, as well as in its communication with – and pastoral care towards – Ms Smith. The report also concluded that two members of the University’s staff acted with good practice – one of which was praised for providing Ms Smith with weekly and ongoing emotional support, and the other lauded for speaking out in support of other female members of staff.

Regarding the report’s conclusions, Professor Tickell said: “Students and staff at the University have a right to feel safe and supported, and we will be introducing a series of major initiatives in response to the report’s recommendations”, adding, “I want to assure those people who have raised past issues, and any others who may want to come forward, that we will immediately look into their matter and carry out whatever appropriate action is necessary. Abuse, of any kind, will not be tolerated at this university.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Tickell

Ms Allison Smith said, “I am pleased there has been such a thorough review into what happened in my case. My primary motivation is that this does not happen to anyone else. I fully support and agree with all of Professor Westmarland’s recommendations and am pleased to see the University plan to put major changes in place”.