I’m still waiting: my October 4th 2011 letter to the President of the University of Bahrain, still unanswered!

Two days ago I published on this blog the University of Bahrain’s letter to me of 22nd June 2011. In it, they cited surveillance of my Internet use as a reason for refusing to accept my resignation, and terminating my contract without further compensation.

Below is my letter to the President of the University of Bahrain, Dr. Ibrahim Al Janahi, dated 4th October 2011, my THIRD letter to him since 22nd June. To-date, he hasn’t had the courtesy to respond.

It is now my intention to make my dealings with the UoB public, so that others are able to form a judgement over their ethical and professional standards, or lack of them:

Tuesday, 4th October 2011

Dear Dr. Al Janahi,

My Contract and Resignation from UoB

This letter concerns my resignation from the UoB, which I submitted on 18th May 2011, and the letter from Dr. Mohammad Yousif Al Zu’ubi entitled “Ref: The Resignation of Dr. Mike Diboll”, dated 22nd June 2011. It is also a follow-up to my letter to you on 5th July 2011, And which has, to-date, gone unanswered.  In his letter of 22nd June Dr. Al Zu’ubi provides a detailed argument justifying the non-acceptance of my resignation by the UoB, and the subsequent termination of my contact, based on a close reading of “the contract signed by both parties” (p.5).

Having taken legal advice on this matter I am writing to inform you that I contest Dr. Al Zu’ubi’s reasoning on the simple grounds that the contract to which he refers is invalid. The contract in my possession is dated 19th June 2010. I can prove with dated and datable written sources that I had signed no such contract. I can provide documentary evidence showing that as late as 4th September 2010 the then newly appointed Dean of BTC, Dr. Ian Haslam, was aware that I had not signed this contract on account of my serious reservations as to its content. Further, in an e-mail dated 12th July 2010 your Advisor, Dr. XXXXX XXXXXX advised me “don’t sign it” because the contract was “insupportable” in that it contradicted the terms of BTC faculty members’ letters of appointment.

I was initially appointed by UoB as an Assistant Professor at the College of Arts that ran from August 2007 to August 2009. This contract was never renewed. However, I was appointed Academic Head of Continuing Professional Development at BTC on a letter of appointment dated 1st February 2009. Between then and 19th June 2010 I was working, and being paid, without any contract whatsoever. In early July 2010 I was shown a contract that stated (a) that a contract “was made” between me and the UoB on 19th June 2010, and; (b) this contract was valid for a period of twenty-four months dated retrospectively to 1st February 2009, expiring on 31st January 2011. With regard to point (a) it is simply untrue that any contract was made between me and any representative of the UoB on the date indicated above. This I can prove with dated and datable correspondence between myself and Drs. Al Bastaki, XXXXXX, and Taqi. With regard to point (b) I simply observe the questionable legal validity of any retrospectively dated contract, let alone one retroactively dated by seventeen of its twenty-four months’ duration (which, in any event, I had not signed). I note here that this document bore your signature.

At a meeting with Dr. Haslam on 5th September 2010, my first ever meeting with him, in fact, I was told that my contract would not be renewed when it expired on 31st January. In fact, at that time I had still not signed any contract with UoB. Further, no explanation was given or has since been given for this decision to not to renew a contract that still had not been signed. (You are aware that I was awarded a Distinction for a Masters level award in Academic Practice by York St. John University, and a full Fellowship of the UK Higher Education Academy, both in recognition of the quality service I had provided the UoB during the academic year 2009-10.)

In late September 2010 I finally signed the above mentioned contract under protest and duress, after I had already been informed of what was in effect my dismissal from the UoB. I did this because Dr. Haslam had intimated to me that if I did so, this might help facilitate a one-semester’s non-negotiable extension to this contract. I was informed of an extension running to 30th June 2011 in a letter signed by you and dated 2nd December 2011. Dr. Haslam remained adamant that there was no possibility that this contract would be further renewed. This was a contract that:

  • had not existed for seventeen months of my service to BTC/UoB
  • which contradicted my letter of appointment to BTC in several significant points
  • which wrongly stated that it “was made” between me and the UoB on 19th June 2010
  • which was retroactive for seventeen months of its twenty-four month duration
  • which I refused to sign, and about which I was still in negotiation some three months after I am supposed to have “made” it with the UoB
  • which I was told on 5th September 2010 would not be renewed when it hadn’t even been signed
  • which I only finally signed under duress on the understanding that doing so would postpone my dismissal from the UoB.

I can support each one of the points with dated and dateable correspondence with senior UoB figures. Given the history of this contract, it is my position that it is so grossly compromised as to render it invalid in law and by all standards of transparency and HR best practice, Bahraini and international. Therefore, the opinion offered by Dr. Al Zu’ubi in his letter of 22nd June 2011, which is based on a close reading of the clauses of this contract, is irrelevant.

Accordingly, I request that full end-of-employment benefits and salary are restored to me forthwith. The precedent for this is that UoB paid me a full salary, housing allowance, Academic Head’s stipend, and other benefits during the nineteen months February 2009 to August 2010, during which no contract whatsoever existed between me and the university. I further request that the issue of compensation for the damage to my income, psychological stress and harm to my professional standing resulting from the history of this contract is assessed.

In the first instance, I request that you give this matter your personal consideration. Since I am not in a position to return to Bahrain, I cannot submit this matter to the courts of the Kingdom of Bahrain for further arbitration should it prove necessary to do so. However, in today’s globalized world the credibility of all academic institutions depends on international acceptance and recognition be learned societies, professional associations, accreditation agencies, and international partners.

I look forward to hearing your personal response as to ways in which this dispute can be settled to our mutual satisfaction.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Diboll, FHEA

CC:

Dr. Yousef Al Bastaki

Dr. Mohammad Yousef Al Zu’ubi

Dr. Ian Haslam

 

So there you have it, still I’ve had no reply.  I’M STILL WAITING!

3 thoughts on “I’m still waiting: my October 4th 2011 letter to the President of the University of Bahrain, still unanswered!

  1. This is a country that kills its citizens without a whim I don’t think they will take much notice of a contract. You are better off out of it and woe betide anyone who works in the Middle East.

    • I know what you mean Lee. However, Bahrain is desperately trying to show everything’s ‘back to normal’ by making links with Western organizations. Britain has played a particularly shameful role in this, with UK Middle East Minister Alistair Burt promising “British expertise” to help the regime, and UK Ambassador to Bahrain Iain Lindsay promising “strong political support” to King Hamad. Activists have been successful in persuading the University of Edinburgh to withdraw from a proposed deal with Bahrain (see earlier posts), and one of my goals with this post is to give anyone contemplating getting involved with the regime a heads up about the kind of people they are dealing with.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s