Friday 18 June 2021

Liverpool's Rachel Pope, her "Dossier" on me and Criminal Harassment Allegation

This ridiculous business drags on. In a social media discussion of commercial artefact hunting rallies a while back, Dr Rachel Pope of the Department of Archaeology Liverpool University made some serious allegations against Nigel Swift and myself. She then revealed that she'd been stalking one of us and created a "dossier" that she could make available, allegedly documenting my ("criminal") behaviour with young females. I am quite used to that kind of bullying and disruptive behaviour in debate on artefact hunting and artefact collecting from metal detectorists, antiquities dealers and collectors. This is the first time I'd met it from a senior (that's what her work title says) British academic, though her motive is quite unclear. So far, this campaigner-for-whatever-in-archaeology has refused to show me what she has in her "dossier" to give me the opportunity to answer her allegations - which I have no doubt are as false as her equally bizarre assertion made at the same time that Nigel Swift and I are in fact the same person, somehow living simultaneously in Poland and the West Midlands. Let us hope that in her archaeological research she draws conclusions on better grounds. This letter, written ten days ago has yet to be even acknowledged by its recipient. I admit, I did expect more of a Classicist:
To; Professor Bruce Gibson M.A., D.Phil., Head of Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool,
Warsaw: 09 June 2021

Dear Professor Gibson,

It has been over a month since I wrote to you and Dr Pope (below) on this disturbing matter. The lack of response in that time from either of you leads me to infer that such discourtesy must be part of the work ‘culture’ of the Department of Archaeology of Liverpool University.

I see that for all the fine words, Dr Pope’s employer in reality takes less seriously than mine the kind of serious public accusations that were made by a member of your Department against myself and a second person, or the fact that she has neither subsequently retracted nor substantiated these allegations.

Dr Pope explicitly publicly stated that (for reasons better known to herself) she had been stalking me and compiled a “dossier” on me that can be made available to support her false accusations of ‘criminal harassment of young females’. Since she announced that, I have been asking to see that document so I may have a chance to refute those accusations before they do any real harm.

I would be grateful if you could help resolve this issue with your employee, and if you cannot, please inform me to whom in the University I could turn for assistance. The University presumably has a department responsible for overseeing professional ethics.

Thank you
Yours sincerely
Paul Barford
So does Liverpool University have a body overseeing ethics of its employees that deals with bullying and false accusations?

Also I find it ironic that Dr Pope apparently spends so much time campaigning about "women-in-archaeology-something-or-other", but when somebody takes offence at her male-blaming and writes to her colleagues to help sort out the consequences, it seems her colleagues are just dismissing it, perhaps  as "our Rachel shouting her little mouth off again, let's ignore it". Let her reflect for a while about the implications of the idea of "getting away with it because I am a woman" and what we understand about (real) equality in archaeology. If you say something mean or stupid, expect to be challenged on it, whatever gender you are. 

I still challenge Dr Pope and the colleagues who defend her to produce this alleged "dossier". Put your academic money where your academic's mouth is. Can you? Or is me suggesting that an academic should be able to back up their words in the public forum with actual arguments also "harassment" in a way that those words about a colleague somehow were not ("because I'm a woman")? Ridiculous. 


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