21 Sep 2008

Auckland lecturer reinstated

5:22 am on 21 September 2008

The University of Auckland has reinstated a political studies lecturer who was unjustifiably sacked last year.

Paul Buchanan was dismissed after sending what has been described as an offensive email to an international student.

The email exchange happened after a student from the United Arab Emirates sought an extension on an assignment, saying her father had died.

Dr Buchanan replied that she could not have an extension, telling her she was underperforming and underqualified. He said it did not matter if her father had died, or if she had a medical certificate; she was unsuitable for a graduate degree.

He went on to say: "You are close to failing in any event, so these sorts of excuses - culturally driven and preying on some sort of Western liberal guilt - are simply lame".

The Employment Relations Authority ruled the dismissal was unjustified and awarded Dr Buchanan more than $65,000 in compensation.

The university says Dr Buchanan is on research and study leave.