TCD and WIT deal with most bullying claims

Waterford Institute of Technology and Trinity College Dublin dealt with the highest number of allegations of bullying among its staff and students in the past five years, with WIT paying more than €100,000 in investigation and legal fees.

Details provided under Freedom of Information also show two students in Cork Institute of Technology alleged in May 2010 that six other students had sexually harassed them as they walked to a lecture.

WIT and DIT both dealt with 16 cases of alleged bullying since 2008, while Trinity College Dublin responded to 14 allegations.

A sample of 10 of the country’s largest third-level institutions show:

* 91 cases of bullying involving students and/or staff across the 10 institutions;

* WIT paid out €107,338 to deal with 16 allegations, of which more than €88,000 went on mediator/ investigator costs;

* UCC dealt with four allegations of bullying but spent more than €10,000. None of the allegations involved students;

* In addition to the 14 allegations of bullying in TCD, the university’s junior dean investigated and upheld six separate bullying claims involving student societies;

* DCU dealt with 10 cases but only spent €20,000 in lieu of notice in which a member of administrative staff resigned;

* Among UCD’s 10 cases, a claim of alleged racism by a supervisor in Feb 2010 was dismissed “on procedural grounds”, while a separate claim of sexual harassment made by a student against a society was dismissed at the Equality Tribunal;

* NUI Galway had no bullying cases involving students, but spent €16,473 dealing with seven cases involving academic and support staff. Three are ongoing, and the other four claims were not upheld;

* The University of Limerick paid €30,940 to deal with seven cases — three involving staff and four involving students;

* A student in DIT last year accused a college technician of “a racial slur” — one of five cases in 2012 that were resolved.

In most cases, the 10 universities and colleges give limited detail regarding the nature of the complaint beyond “bullying”.

In April 2009 a student claimed he had been followed by another student, while in May last year, a lecturer claimed a student had become abusive during an online lecture.

Just one of 16 allegations dealt with in WIT was upheld, a 2011 case in which a member of staff physically attacked a colleague, resulting in their transfer and a written warning.

In a separate case last year, a student was asked to apologise after falsely claiming mistreatment by a staff member.


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