Sacked lecturer threatens legal action
By STELLA LEE
THE Hong Kong Polytechnic lecturer whose contract was terminated after making complaints about his department is considering suing the institution.
The Staff Association yesterday decided to raise the issue with Polytechnic Council chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching. It will also be asking director Professor Poon Chung-kwong to rescind the decision to terminate the contract of Trevor Sofield, principal lecturer of the Hotel and Tourism Management Department The association will also seek an assurance that staff who complain in future would not be disciplined.
A general meeting will be convened next week to discuss the issue.
Some third year students alleged yesterday that they were being victimised over the incident which had brought the tourism course, introduced only in 1991, into disrepute.
They wanted the Polytechnic to reveal the full inquiry report.
Mr Sofield was asked to leave on Friday when the findings of an inquiry into allegations of mismanagement by two senior department staff were announced.
Associate head Joseph Ruddy's contract will be terminated by mutual consent, while head Dr Frank Go could stay but face internal action.
Mr Sofield, who made a 200-page submission to the inquiry, said his reputation had been damaged with the Polytechnic's termination of his contract.
The Polytechnic said his actions were inappropriate for a principal lecturer.
Mr Sofield disputed statements issued last week by the Polytechnic about his situation and said he was considering taking legal action and was actively seeking legal advice to decide which party or parties to sue.
Termination of his contract was unreasonable and was a move ''to kill one to warn off the 100'' who might complain, he said.
A lecturer at the department said he intended to resign as he felt disgusted about the way the incident was handled.
Besides his impending departure, the removal of Mr Sofield and the departure of Mr Ruddy, there are seven other lecturers already known to be leaving or not having their contracts renewed for other reasons.
This will mean that a quarter of the staff in the department would be gone by this summer.
Officials from the Polytechnic were not available for comment.