NUI Galway’s response in the media to Micheline’s Open Letter is very interesting and worth studying carefully. Galway Bay FM and the Connacht Tribune both reported that NUI Galway stated there is ‘no connection whatsoever’ between their unsuccessful applications and the legal cases of four colleagues, and that NUI Galway has complied in full with the decision relating to Dr Sheehy Skeffington, but it does not provide a basis to promote any other individual. But Micheline did not actually make either claim in her Open Letter (have a look). She simply told the committee that NUI Galway should not reapply for the Athena SWAN award without addressing the known gender discrimination resulting from the curropt 2008/09 promotion round and if they were to apply without doing this, then NUI Galway should be turned down again by Athena SWAN and that this would lead to the loss of government research grant funding.
In fact, the press reports include no rebuttal by NUI Galway of anything Micheline actually wrote in her Open Letter. There is no denial that her Equality Tribunal ruling highlighted gender discrimination affecting other women shortlisted in the 2008/09 promotion round. There is also no denial that there was further gender discrimination which was not mentioned in the ruling. And there is no denial that any such gender discrimination should be dealt with before applying again for the Athena SWAN award.
Also both things NUI Galway refute could not, in fact, have happened. Athena SWAN could not have turned down NUI Galway for the Bronze award because of any legal cases as they have not been decided yet. But Athena SWAN must refuse NUI Galway the Bronze award if the university is not dealing with known gender discrimination.
Similarly, the Equality Tribunal ruling could not have required NUI Galway to promote anyone other than the individual taking the case. That was outside of its remit and would have led to the ruling being challenged by NUI Galway. But the Equality Tribunal could highlight gender discrimination against other women involved in that round in justifying its ruling in favour of Micheline, which is what it did. The Equality Tribunal ruling also deliberately confines itself to examples of gender discrimination that it would be difficult to challenge as part of an appeal by NUI Galway and so omits examples such as the fast tracking of three men that we have revealed. NUI Galway management know about these other instances as they attended the Equality Tribunal hearing held behind closed doors. Their team included someone who is now on the Athena SWAN committee preparing NUI Galway’s application. That is something else NUI Galway did not refute.