Top college honour for bat-sex row academic
AN academic accused of sexual harassment after he showed a female colleague an article on the sex life of fruit bats has been honoured by his university.
Dr Dylan Evans, who lectures in behavioural science at University College Cork (UCC), has raised a legal action against his employer over disciplinary action taken against him arising from the fruit bat affair.
But yesterday evening UCC president Dr Michael Murphy presented the 44-year-old with the college's highest accolade for excellence in innovative teaching.
Dr Evans was at the centre of controversy earlier this year when a school of medicine colleague, Dr Rossana Salerno Kennedy, accused him of sexual harassment after he showed her a scientific article on oral sex by fruit bats. She said it was not the first time he had raised sexual subjects with her.
College investigators rejected her claims about the prior period, but upheld the complaint about the fruit bats article.
UCC disciplined Dr Evans, who claimed his academic freedom was being impinged upon and subsequently raised a legal challenge seeking to quash the college's findings.
The matter is due for a full hearing in the High Court on November 30 and December 1.
At a ceremony in UCC last night, Dr Evans and a colleague, Catherine O'Mahony, were presented with one of the prestigious President's Awards for Research on Innovative Forms of Teaching.
Their award relates to the work of Cork Science Cafe for the innovative way it promotes the public understanding of science, particularly to teenagers in communities affected by socio-economic disadvantages.
The cafe is an informal monthly "meet the scientist" event, run in association with UCC, Tyndall National Institute, Cork Institute of Technology, the Cork Electronics Industry Association and Cork City Learning Forum.
Dr Evans will speak to a community in Glanmire, Co Cork, tonight as part of the events marking Science Week Ireland 2010.
As well as the prestige value of the award, Dr Evans and Ms O'Mahony also received a cheque to the value of €3,300 to support their work in this area.
After receiving his award last night, Dr Evans said that he was "very pleased that the university is encouraging the development of innovative projects in teaching and learning".
He said he had no further comment to make.