Lecturer sacked by Sandwell College after investigation
A campaign has been launched to reinstate a sacked Sandwell College lecturer who allegedly scrawled the word "racist" across an anti-terrorism poster.
Maths teacher Dave Muritu was reportedly dismissed for gross misconduct after he wrote the comment on a poster promoting the college's Prevent programme, which aims to protect students from radicalisation and extremism.
Now trade unionists have threatened industrial action unless he is given his job back.
Mr Muritu, an anti-racist campaigner and former chair of the University and College Union (UCU) black members standing committee, was reportedly booted out following a disciplinary hearing having been accused of bringing the college into disrepute.
He is said to have admitted to drawing on the poster and apologised for his actions.
The college says it conducted a "thorough investigation into a serious disciplinary matter" which led to the dismissal of a member of staff.
UCU acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said: ‘The college has lost all sense of proportion in dealing with Mr Muritu’s case.
"The incident was clearly a moment of frustration for which he has apologised, but the college has refused to budge from its hardline position.
"The college has acknowledged that his actions didn’t bring the college into disrepute, so it seems this incident is being used as an excuse to attack Mr Muritu for his trade union activities.
"We will not simply stand by and allow this to happen, and the college should be prepared to face industrial action if the decision is not swiftly reversed."
The Prevent strategy includes a duty to report concerns about people who may be at risk of turning to extremism.
It is under an independent review after claims that it divides communities and unfairly targets Muslims, although the Government says critics are using “distortion and spin” to discredit a useful tool against terrorism.
A college spokesperson said: "Safeguarding is of paramount importance to everybody at Sandwell College and we expect everybody to act professionally, ensuring that we adhere to our statutory duties whilst creating the best possible environment for all of our students and staff to thrive.
"Although we do not share details of internal HR matters, it is important to note that we recently conducted a thorough investigation into a serious disciplinary matter which resulted in the decision being made to terminate the employment of a member of staff.
"They, of course, have the right to appeal and therefore it would not be right for us to say any more at this time.
"The college has been notified that UCU wish to enter into a dispute with the college following the dismissal of the staff member.
"The college does not accept and refutes UCU comments. The college has taken necessary steps to minimise the impact of any action and will continue to operate as normal."
Mr Muritu was previously employed by Halesowen College. He was sacked along with three other lecturers in 2012 over claims that he had failed to meet the required standards.
The dismissals led to protests from staff and a strike.
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