Dean of Oxford college agrees to step down after mediation process

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy is to step down from his role at Christ Church Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The dean of a college at the University of Oxford has agreed to step down after the resolution of outstanding issues between him and the institution.

Christ Church said a mediation process concluded on Friday between the college and its dean, the Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy.

As part of the resolution, the college said a person who accused the dean of sexual harassment has settled her claim with him on terms which, at her request, are confidential.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the dean's supporters said the college will pay a "substantial" sum in compensation to Prof Percy and reimburse his legal costs.

The college said Prof Percy has agreed to step down voluntarily from his role as dean of Christ Church and will leave on April 26. It is understood that while he is leaving at the end of April, he will not be resuming his duties between now and then.

The person who made the accusation, referred to by the college as X, said she brought a claim of sexual harassment against the dean in October 2020 which he has always denied.

She said in a statement released by the college: "I have to accept, incredibly reluctantly, that it is my word against his that the incident took place.

"I am acutely aware that this is a situation faced by many women who bring complaints of a sexual nature.

"Sadly, the various processes that have followed have not altered this situation.

"However, I want to acknowledge that Christ Church, to their credit, has always supported my right to make this complaint."

Christ Church said it was "deeply sorry for the hurt that this individual has suffered" Credit: PA

The college said it made clear throughout the various dispute processes with the dean that no resolution could be reached unless the concerns of the individual making the allegation of sexual harassment against him were fully addressed.

At the individual's request, Christ Church said it will within 12 months commission a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures in relation to sexual harassment to be led by an independent expert.

The college said the review will ensure that any future cases are dealt with "fairly and expediently".

In a statement, Christ Church said: "Christ Church can now confirm that the mediation process has been concluded and that a resolution has been reached that is acceptable to all parties.

"The dean has agreed to step down, voluntarily, from his role as dean of Christ Church, and the individual who made the allegation of sexual harassment against the dean has agreed to settle her claim on terms which on her request are confidential."

"Christ Church is deeply sorry for the hurt that this individual has suffered and we regret the time that it has taken to bring these matters concerning the Dean to a conclusion."

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