Sussex

Sussex University 'must take violence against women seriously'

Image of attack on Allison Smith Image copyright Allison Smith
Image caption Allison Smith was punched and kicked by her former boyfriend and lecturer Dr Lee Salter

A former student, who was attacked by her lecturer partner, has called on the University of Sussex to "take violence against women seriously".

Allison Smith, 24, was punched by Dr Lee Salter last September who continued teaching for a further 10 months.

He was only suspended after his conviction in June and later lost his job. He was sentenced to 22 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

Sussex University said it would review its employment practices.

Ms Smith, who had been in a relationship with Salter who was a lecturer in her department, said he "punched me and knocked me out...he threw a salt container at my face".

"I couldn't get up. He stamped on me and kicked my thighs," she added.

Image copyright Allison Smith
Image caption Allison Smith described how the lecturer punched her in the face and kicked her thighs

Ms Smith said the university should "explain why they chose to allow him to work for ten months".

The university confirmed Salter continued to give media and communication lectures between his arrest and conviction and was removed from his position on 13 August.

In a statement, it said: "In cases involving criminal charges, it is important such matters are dealt with by the police and the courts, which take precedence over employment procedures.

"The University kept the situation under review and monitored and assessed any risk to its students."

It said it "does not tolerate violence of any sort" and would be "reviewing all relevant university regulations and procedures".

Image copyright YouTube
Image caption Salter was a senior lecturer in media and communications at the University of Sussex

Employment solicitor Alex Kiernan said employers were not required to dismiss an employee accused of a criminal offence, but could do so if they had concerns about the situation.

Sussex's incoming vice chancellor Adam Tickell tweeted he would appoint a pro-vice chancellor "for equalities".

Salter was found guilty of assault by beating and causing criminal damage to belongings at Brighton Magistrates' Court in June.

As well as his suspended sentence he was issued with a restraining order not to contact Ms Smith. He was also fined £2,765 and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

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