Cambridge professor ‘bullied and harassed junior female colleague and told her to “sit down woman” and “shut up” in row over report into Gonville and Caius College’s links to slave trade’

  • Professor Joe Herbert, 86, is accused of engaging in ‘unwanted behaviour’
  • Behaviour is understood to have included repeatedly ‘shushing’ during meeting
  • He also allegedly also told Bronwen Everill to ‘sit down woman’ and ‘shut up’
  • A college grievance committee found the allegations were ‘well founded’

A Cambridge University professor ‘bullied and harassed a junior female colleague and told her to “sit down woman” and “shut up” in a row over a report into Gonville and Caius College’s links to slavery’.

Joe Herbert, 86, is accused of engaging in ‘unwanted behaviour in the form of bullying and harassment related to the protected characteristic of sex’ by junior colleague Bronwen Everill over discussions that took place over the report.

His behaviour is understood to have included repeatedly ‘shushing’ during a meeting in which he objected to the report, allegedly also telling Ms Everill to ‘sit down woman’ and ‘shut up’.

A grievance committee at Gonville & Caius College has found that the allegations were ‘well founded’, Varsity reports.

It came after a witness said Herbert, professor of neuroscience. had behaved in a sexist way towards Ms Everill – who was in charge of overseeing the slavery report.

Following the remarks during the meeting, Herbert sent her a series of emails, stating: ‘You are clearly avoiding any rational discussion and one can only draw an obvious conclusion from that.’

Another added: ‘I told you to shut up because you were shrieking at me. 

The remarks are understood to have been made during a row over a report into Gonville and Caius College’s (pictured) links to slavery

‘You weren’t attempting to say anything. Do you still refuse a decent conversation?’

Herbert is understood to not deny the remarks or emails, but he does not believe he is a misogynist.

He told the committee: ‘I don’t think the term woman is a term of abuse, is it?’

The grievance committee has proposed that the professor offers an apology to Ms Everill and is understood to not be taking any formal disciplinary action against him.

Herbert is a well recognised figure within the college and has published books including The Minder Brain in 2008 and Testosterone: sex, power and the will to win  in 2015.

The slavery report was published on the College website last week amid pressure from academics.

It found: ‘Caius alumni, fellows, and the College had significant connections to slavery and slaveholders and have profited off investments and benefactions connected to enslavement and coerced labour.’

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