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Cyprus

Tepak professor resigned over being ‘harassed for lack of Greek’

The Tepak campus in Limassol

Cyprus University of Technology (Tepak) fine arts professor Dr Elizabeth Hoak-Doering has tendered her resignation over ‘the unprofessional behaviour and discrimination of certain colleagues’ shown towards her because of her lack of Greek.

Hoak-Doering, who had only been hired by Tepak at the end of last year, submitted her resignation to the university on August 24, just before the start of the new academic year.

In her letter of resignation, the professor said that “from the beginning of my employment at Tepak (certain colleagues) have subjected me continually to unprofessional behaviour, discrimination, and verbal assault that is intended to humiliate me.”

She explained that because of her “alleged inadequacy in Greek language,” basic information integral to her position as a professor in the department was withheld from her.

“Thus,” she continued, “I am being rendered ineffective and I have been purposefully prevented from doing my job.”

In her letter, the American professor said native fluency was not a required qualification for the position.

She added that her language skills were unreasonably deemed unfit, since she already spoke Greek at an acceptable level, and had, by her own volition, “enrolled in and attended an intensive night course in Greek” at an advanced level, from which she graduated with honours.

In addition to her concerns regarding systematic discrimination and verbal assault, the professor expressed her concern about the university’s “inappropriate hiring practices” by which “family members, friends and students” are hired “in disregard of the formal hiring procedures of the public sector.”

She added that despite her multiple efforts to contact and meet with the rector of the university, these attempts were ignored, while her attempts to inform the rector about the cases of discrimination and assault were admonished by the dean.

On Tuesday the rector said that claims regarding his indifference towards the matter are untrue, since he had replied to the professor’s email, and had addressed the issue together with the dean in a way that the professor had found to be satisfactory.

According to daily Haravgi, the internal auditor of Tepak is expected to issue a verdict on the case in two months, while the university will submit their position on the matter to the auditor-general’s office which has intervened.

Meanwhile, attempts are already being made to fill the professor’s position.

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