THE Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford, is commissioning a review of its decision to start tribunal proceedings that could result in the dismissal of the Dean, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy.
The Dean, who is currently on sick leave, is subject to a sexual-harassment complaint (News, 15 January), which follows a long-running dispute with the college authorities.
The college’s treatment of Dean Percy, who by virtue of his office is both Dean of the Cathedral and Head of House, was reported to the Charity Commission, which last month wrote to members of the Governing Body to say that it would be “seeking further information and assurances from the members of the Governing Body about why establishing a Tribunal is: in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries; a responsible use of the charity’s resources” (News, 5 February).
The review appears to be an attempt to pre-empt the Charity Commission’s investigation. A statement issued by the college on Wednesday of last week said: “Christ Church has begun the immediate process of identifying and appointing a chair for the independent review and agreeing its terms of reference. It is expected that the chair will be a senior figure from the judiciary.” The purpose of the review, it said, was “to confirm the disciplinary process it has put in place”.
In addition, the college’s statement addressed accounts of the harassment complaint which have appeared in other news outlets and on social media. The college has reported a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.