THREE academics are calling for compensation for Dr Daryl Balia, the former director of the Edinburgh 2010 mission conference, whose suspension was revealed on the eve of the centenary event (News, 4 June).
Three former colleagues of Dr Balia — Professor John Hull, Dr Anthony Reddie, and Dr Evie Vernon — have demanded £100,000 in compensation for him from the University of Edinburgh and the Church of Scotland, who co-ordinated the conference.
They say he should be compensated for the “grief and isolation” he experienced, and for the “unwarranted damage to his status and future employment prospects”.
Dr Balia was barred from the 2010 conference, which he had spent three years organising, and announced his intention to resign during the event (News, 11 June).
He said he first ran into problems with the conference’s executive committee in November 2008, when a conservative, the Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Dr Zac Niringiye, was proposed as one of the main speakers. Dr Balia opposed this, saying that such a speaker “would have diverted attention away from the mission agenda”.
He was also in favour of opening the event to people of other faiths, but this move was opposed.
His views on this were shared by Canon Andrew Wingate, Director Emeritus of the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester, who has written that “in this area of mission, 2010 was behind its time” (Letters).
The University of Edinburgh, Dr Balia’s employer, declined to comment.