Updated Monday afternoon
The Bishop of Oxford has issued this statement: Diocesan Synod statement concerning the Dean of Oxford.
Saturday 17 November 2018: The Bishop of Oxford gave a statement to the meeting of the Oxford Diocesan Synod. The full text of the statement can be read below. Following media enquiries over the weekend the College confirmed that Martyn Percy has been suspended from his duties pending the tribunal’s outcome. Bishop Steven said; “As always in such circumstances, suspension is a neutral act and does not imply that the complaint will be upheld.”
The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
You may be aware that a formal complaint has been made against the Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy.
Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean is also Head of an Oxford College. The Governing Body and Chapter have now requested that the complaint against Martyn, which relates to a governance matter, be properly reviewed by an independently chaired internal tribunal.
Martyn is a close colleague, widely respected across the Church and his absence is keenly felt. The tribunal must now conduct an impartial, thorough and fair review of the complaint that has been made.
I remain in close contact with Martyn and Emma and with the Subdean and Chapter and the wider college through this difficult period. I am monitoring the situation closely. I also want to see that any allegations of bullying are properly investigated. Meanwhile the Cathedral’s core work of prayer and the worship of God continues, albeit in very testing circumstances.
We wish Martyn a speedy recovery to full health following a period of sickness in recent weeks and commend all those involved in this difficult situation to the prayers of the diocese.
The most recent media reports are these:
Mail on Sunday: Corrections and clarifications which relates to this article, two weeks ago: Modernising Oxford University dean is taken ill after alleged ‘hellish bullying campaign by dons to oust him’
Earlier reports include: Church Times: Dean of Oxford, Martyn Percy, faces removal from office and this week the Church Times opinion columnist Angela Tilby wrote: A reforming dean may be unpopular.
Local Oxford coverage has included:
Oxford Mail: Dean of Christ Church in Oxford faces tribunal
Oxford Student: Christ Church Dean In Tribunal Over Pay
Cherwell Online: Christ Church dean faces coup
A fundraising site has been established here, which contains a summary of some of the points at issue in this case:
It appears therefore that Martyn’s position is a uniquely powerless one. It takes just seven complainants under the statutes of the college to request a tribunal to remove the Dean of Christ Church. Three strange steps appear to have led to this position.
First, the Dean was offered no proper investigation, at which evidence from both sides could be heard, read and weighed.
Second, there was no disciplinary hearing in which he could defend any allegations made against him.
Third, to avoid unnecessary conflict, processes of genuine mediation should always happen. Such mediation is entered into in good faith by both parties – rather than being used as a means to coerce and expedite a virtually immediate resignation, which is increasingly common in workplaces today.
In any normal place of work, a Tribunal would be the very final stage: and only if the investigation, disciplinary procedures and mediation had all failed. In Martyn’s case, the first three stages did not fail: it seems they were not really attempted.
Under the college statutes, the Dean has no grievance procedure available to him either, so he can’t complain about the treatment give[n] him. Consequently, he can do nothing about the bullying and harassment he has received. Under natural justice any person should have rights. But [the] Martyn doesn’t.
Finally, the Dean seems to have no right to free speech. To defend himself, he has to find his own legal costs. His speech is not free. If you think this is unjust, then please help the support fund.
Surviving Church: Oxford Bullying and the Church of England