Last year, I commissioned an independent QC-led Inquiry into the University’s handling of past complaints of sexual misconduct against Kevin O’Gorman, a former staff member.
This followed his conviction of a range of offences, some of which were carried out when he was an employee of the University. His trial and subsequent conviction revealed shocking details of his crimes over a number of years and the entire University community was deeply upset and appalled at what emerged. Our thoughts remain with his victims and we regret deeply that they suffered as a result of O’Gorman’s unacceptable behaviour.
The health, safety and well-being of our students and staff are always our first priority. As a result of what we learned at the trial, and the seriousness of the situation, I commissioned an independent QC-led Inquiry into the issues arising from the conduct of Kevin O’Gorman. The aim was to discover everything we could about events and to ensure we learned any lessons from that. This decision was fully supported by the Executive Team and by the University Court.
Mr Craig Sandison QC conducted a thorough and detailed independent examination of our systems, processes and actions to ascertain the true facts pertaining to O’Gorman’s recruitment to and promotion within the University, his activities while here, the disciplinary processes, and his exit from the University. He was also asked to make any recommendations as he saw fit.
Mr Sandison has now delivered his report and six recommendations, which we fully and unreservedly accept. They provide opportunities to enhance our procedures to safeguard members of our university community, and reduce risks, particularly for those most vulnerable to predatory behaviour. All of these will be addressed within this academic year.
As part of our commitment to openness and transparency, it is only right that the report is shared in its entirety with all staff and students. I would encourage you to take the time to read it. Our Court, Senate and Executive Team have also received a copy today.
Sexual misconduct has no place in higher education, and the safety and wellbeing of our University community is the responsibility of each and every one of us. I would remind colleagues that we actively encourage the reporting of any incidence of inappropriate behaviour so that it can be investigated, challenged as necessary and appropriate support given to those affected.
Any student, member of staff, or visitor to campus can report something that they are concerned about anonymously through our online Report and Support system. We also continue to make confidential counselling available to anyone who was impacted by this case.
Throughout my time as Principal, I have sought to ensure that we strive to make the University ever-safer for our staff, students and visitors. This independent report is an important part of this on-going process and I am confident that not only Strathclyde, but our sector at large will benefit from the Inquiry.
Download the full University of Strathclyde Inquiry Report (PDF).