Northern Ireland news

Queen's University professor in eye of DUP leader has faced 'intimidation, harassment'

REPORT: Queen's University has been criticised for including its logo on a report in favour of a united Ireland
John Breslin

A QUEEN'S University law professor has faced "a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years", it was claimed last night.

The KRW law firm issued a statement relating to a complaint over the use of a university logo on a study.

DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson raised concerns about a pending publication by Professor Colin Harvey with the university's vice-chancellor Ian Greer.

The Lagan Valley MP is objecting to the inclusion of Queen's logo in the study by Prof Harvey and barrister Mark Bassett called Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU.

Prof Harvey is a board member of Ireland's Future, the group behind a major event this month in Dublin and one to be held at the Ulster Hall in Belfast in November.

The statement issued by KRW said approval for the use of the university logo "was explicitly sought in advance and was definitively authorised, by the appropriate authority in QUB".

It added that: "In particular, and following a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment over several years, we expect the university to issue a definitive public statement in support of Professor Colin Harvey and thus acknowledge his significant contribution to research, education and administration over decades.

"We urge the university to defend its academic staff and further we underline that legitimate inquiry, scholarship and the ability of staff to conduct research, teach, speak, and publish without interference or penalty must be protected and maintained.

"We deplore attacks on academics as being inconsistent with the principle of academic freedom and appeal to the university to reaffirm its commitment to all staff and their right to question, test and to put forward ideas without fear of placing themselves in jeopardy.

"Academics from Queen’s University Belfast are being targeted by those opposed to the research in which they are engaged – including on constitutional change, Brexit, and the Protocol. We deplore such attacks, and seek to put on record the value of legitimate inquiry and the right to question and test received wisdom and to put forward new ideas, without being under threat or being penalised for doing so."

Queen's said it would address concerns during its meeting with Sir Jeffrey.

This morning the university issued this statement:

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