lunes, 25 de mayo de 2009
¡Increíble! ¿Por qué las mujeres nos tenemos que quedar siempre calladas?
Oxford professor of poetry Ruth Padel resigns after smear allegations
Ruth Padel, the first woman elected Oxford's professor of poetry, has resigned following claims she tipped off journalists about allegations that her chief rival for the post, Derek Walcott, had sexually harassed students.
Padel won the vote nine days ago. But in a statement tonight she said: "I genuinely believe that I did nothing intentional that led to Derek Walcott's withdrawal from the election. I wish he had not pulled out. I did not engage in a smear campaign against him, but, as a result of student concern, I naively – and with hindsight unwisely – passed on to two journalists, whom I believed to be covering the whole election responsibly, information that was already in the public domain."
She said she had acted in "good faith" and would have been "happy to lose to Derek, but I can see that people might interpret my actions otherwise. I wish to do what is best for the university and I understand that opinion there is divided. I therefore resign from the chair of poetry."
The reaction from the literary world was one of sadness. "I think she would have worked very hard in that job, and she had excellent plans," said novelist Rose Tremain. "In the year that Carol Ann Duffy became the poet laureate, it would have been fantastic to have had the duo. It is a tragedy. But there is a moral question here – and I think it is unanswerable."
Novelist Jeanette Winterson said: "It's a pity she has been backed into a corner. What she has done is so much more trivial than her contribution to poetry. This feels malicious and nasty. We ought to be able to look beyond the woman to the poetry. This is a way of reducing women; it wouldn't have happened to a man. But then Oxford is a sexist little dump."
The poet Jackie Kay said: "This was the first time that we had a woman as Oxford professor of poetry – and she has had to resign over two emails. The old boys have closed in on her. It would not have happened to a man, and I am very sad."
Writer Amit Chaudhuri, a supporter of the campaign of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, the remaining serious contender for the post, said: "I feel bad for Ruth; and I also feel the professorship has been run dry in the worst possible way. One is left with no enthusiasm about the whole thing.
"Though I have had no opportunity to speak about this to my candidate, I am not sure whether he would want to try again, but we will see." He added: "When something gets involved in a publicity machine there is no saying where it will stop. It was Padel who instigated the publicity machine and it has gone completely out of control. It is very sad."
The so-called smear campaign saw up to 100 Oxford academics sent photocopied pages from a book detailing a sexual harassment claim made against Walcott by a student at Harvard in 1982. Widely felt to be the favoured candidate of the Oxford English faculty, the Nobel laureate resigned from the race on 12 May.
Padel, who appears at the Guardian Hay festivaltomorrow today to talk about her ancestor Charles Darwin, will make a full statement of her position at a press conference.
Commenting on Padel's decision not to take up the post, Oxford University said: "We respect the decision that Ruth Padel has taken. This has been a difficult chapter for all concerned and a period of reflection may now be in order."
It is understood the university will hold a fresh election - but probably not in time for a professor to be in post by October, when Christopher Ricks, the incumbent, officially steps down.
* guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
Posted by Verónica Rt at 20:31