The dean of one of Oxford University’s oldest colleges has agreed to step down, after reaching a settlement agreement with the institution to end a three-year legal battle.
Professor Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, has agreed to step down after a mediation process, the college said in a statement.
Professor Percy, who was appointed in 2014, had been in a three-and-one-year dispute with the college amid allegations of outrageous behavior, poor judgment and sexual harassment.
The sexual harassment allegation, which emerged last year, has been settled and an employment tribunal scheduled for 2023 will not take place.
In November 2018, Professor Percy was suspended after a complaint was lodged against him with the governing body of Christ Church, which then invoked a law citing “immoral, scandalous and disgraceful” behaviour.
The college hired Sir Andrew Smith, a retired High Court judge, to preside over a tribunal and after a hearing in June 2019 dismissed all 27 complaints against Professor Percy and ordered his reinstatement.
The dispute has cost millions of pounds and damaged the reputation of the 476-year-old college, which has produced 13 British prime ministers, 10 chancellors of the exchequer and 17 archbishops.
In a statement, Christ Church said “a resolution acceptable to all parties has been reached ‘after mediation’ to resolve a number of outstanding issues.”
“The person who brought the allegation of sexual harassment against the Dean has agreed to resolve his complaint in terms which, at his request, are confidential,” the college added.
‘Harrowing’ four years
In a separate statement, the woman said: “I am delighted that the Dean has agreed to resign…and, in return, I have agreed to settle my outstanding claims against him.”
She also thanked Christ Church for supporting her right to file a complaint.
Professor Percy will step down on April 26 and although the amount of the settlement was not disclosed, the Financial Times reported he would receive almost £1.2million.
In a statement, Professor Percy said: “I can now retire and look forward to returning to normal life with my wife Emma, who has been such a rock of strength during this painful struggle.
“While the past four years have often been trying, I have taken great comfort in the unwavering support of my colleagues, alumni and friends.”