John F. Allen, Professor of Biochemisty, was dismissed by Simon Gaskell, Principal of QMUL

Reposting published items on John’s dismissal written by others.

A salute to whistleblowers

“Now they have got around to sacking John as well, on what has all the appearance of being a trumped-up charge (failing to obey an order from the Head of School)… If you appoint independent thinkers (as surely any university worthy of the name must do), you should not be surprised when they think independently.”

Metrics Critic sacked by Queen Mary University of London

“Professor Allen intends to lodge an employment tribunal claim alleging that the underlying motive for his sacking was his authorship of The Lancet letter and claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds that he suffered detriment for whistleblowing.”

Queen Mary dismissal

“Prior to John Allen’s appeal, Simon Gaskell, the university principal, received a letter signed by Nobel laureates and fellows of the Royal Society asking for the dismissal to be reversed. This was disregarded. Absence of any internal objections to Allen’s dismissal indicates that his colleagues are fearful for their jobs while some even had the mendacity to appear as tools of management at the dismissal hearings.”

Friction at Queen Mary

“Such disagreements should not lead to public humiliation on one side or the other… Hence resort to courts of law indicates a failure of internal compromises that one always thought were the sine qua non of civilised university life.”

And a selection of comments from twitter

Lee Jones: appalling and vindictive

Rebecca Sear: Very worrying for UK academics

Curt Rice: Sounds like a rough atmoshpere @QMUL

Michael Proulx: Wolfson Merit Award winner dismissed at QMUL – vengeance for his letter written in The Lancet?

Alex Mesoudi: Queen Mary SBCS management still behaving appallingly

Martin Dominik: How not to manage a university: getting rid of people who actually give your institution a good name

Public University: and then they came for?

David Colquhoun: Simon Gaskell, VC of @QMUL, typifies the McCarthyite style of management. He isn’t fit to to run a university

John Gill: John Allen is a top biochemist – was on In Our Time the week before he was sacked by QMUL

15 thoughts on “John F. Allen, Professor of Biochemisty, was dismissed by Simon Gaskell, Principal of QMUL

  1. I would like to express my anger against such totalitarian
    Prof. John F. Allen is a pioneer in scientific research, during last decades.
    His work is fundamental and it has built significant knowledge, by uprising inspiration and shaping creativeness in the field.

    As a young post-doc , i am still wondering if I can trust
    academia or not, as a body that promotes evolvability towards a healthy society.

    1. Thank you, Christos. You are too generous. Don’t give up, but look very carefully behind the claims that universities make about themselves. Some universities are not what they seem.

    2. Dear Christos,

      You are not alone in commending John’s research and he has also acted as a teacher and mentor to many, including me. I am aware of letters sent by Nobel laureates, world leaders in photosynthesis research, John’s colleagues locally and other concerned individuals to Simon Gaskell, who in my opinion, does not qualify to be part of the academic body and has harmed not only John and myself, but Queen Mary University of London and its students and remaining academics mostly. These were dismissed (as were similar ones written in my own case and in the case of Dr. Robin Maytum previously).

      So what should those of us (the big majority, still, I should say) who care about science do against the assault of these banker-resembling managers in order for Universities to remain places upholding truth and the public good? This is a pressing question and one to which the younger generation needs to contribute as well as those who have more experience.

      Trust is built on experience…

      1. An Employment Appeal Tribunal has corrected some of the problems with the above judgments. Unfair dismissal means Queen Mary will have to compensate John Allen. I think they should apologize and offer reinstatement.

    Dr John F. Allen v Queen Mary University of London

    What follows is my favourite part of the judgment:

    The Employment Tribunal found that the Respondent’s conduct in removing the whole of the Claimant’s pre-sabbatical work was such a serious breach of contract that, taken together with its failure to deal with his grievance in a reasonable time, it would have justified him in resigning and claiming constructive dismissal.

    It had already found the dismissal to be unfair because the Respondent had failed to consider the removal of his pre-sabbatical work as part and parcel of the investigatory process for the dismissal. I cannot see how the Employment Tribunal has reconciled this serious criticism of the Respondent with its finding of 100 per cent contributory conduct, which depends at the least on a finding that the Claimant was wholly responsible for his own dismissal…

    It is one thing to dismiss an employee for being obdurate about taking on fresh work when he is in the wrong, arguably another to do so when he has been the subject of a serious wrong that has not been corrected.

    The full judgment can be read here:

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