UK: Oxford poetry prof quits after smearing rival

The University of Oxford's Professor of Poetry resigned last week, only nine days after she was elected to the post after a smear campaign against her main rival, writes Patrick Foster for The Times. Ruth Padel, the first woman to be elected to the position, admitted that she had e-mailed journalists about sexual harassment claims made against Derek Walcott, the Nobel laureate.

In her resignation statement Padel, 63, said: "I genuinely believe that I did nothing intentional that led to Derek Walcott's withdrawal from the election. I wish he had not pulled out. I did not engage in a smear campaign against him but, as a result of student concern, I naively - and with hindsight unwisely - passed on to two journalists, whom I believed to be covering the whole election responsibly, information that was already in the public domain."

Walcott withdrew from the race complaining of "a low and degrading attempt at character assassination" after a dossier detailing sexual harassment allegations made by a student at Harvard University in 1982 was posted anonymously to more than 100 Oxford academics.
Full report on The Times site