THE AUSTRALIAN: University fined over Israel boycott issue 27Sep13 September 27, 2013

The Australian    -    27 September 2013

WARWICK University in the UK must apologise and pay compensation to an Israeli student for refusing to replace her masters adviser, who is reportedly a supporter of the campaign to boycott Israel.

In 2010, the postgraduate student Smadar Bakovic, a graduate student in Warwick’s department of politics and international studies, submitted a dissertation on Arab identity in Israel, the Chronicle of Higher Education has reported.

The adviser, Nicola Pratt, gave her a lowish mark of 61, saying her observations were similar to the official Israeli line.

Ms Bakovic objected to supervision by Dr Pratt because of her support for the pro-Palestinian boycott of Israel and appealed the mark.

Academic agitation in favour of the boycott has been a source of controversy in Australia, where the University of Sydney has disassociated itself from the activist stand taken by associate professor Jake Lynch, director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

At Warwick, an internal inquiry cleared Dr Pratt of any failing but granted the student’s request for a remark by another academic, who awarded her 71.

This month the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, which handles student complaints, said the department should have accommodated Ms Bakovic’s request for a different adviser. Warwick has been ordered to apologise and pay 1000 pounds to make amends.

The office acknowledged Ms Bakovic’s concerns about potential bias but said it did not believe the student had proven actual bias.

In a statement, Warwick said it could find only one email from the student expressing concern about her supervisor.

“It should also be pointed out that the student, despite what she claims about being uncomfortable with her dissertation advisor, actively solicited on her own volition additional assistance from that supervisor several months past the normal period allotted,” the university said.

“Her department also has on record the students praise for the quality of her supervision.”

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