Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Queen's University Lecturer And Academic Excellence

Queen Victoria founded a college in Belfast when she was a but a youngster, shortly before one million of her Irish subjects starved to death in a country that was exporting food. You could say that her namesake university was born under a dark star, in that case.

Queen's University Belfast is not one of the top 200 universities in the world, and it might be due to the school's lack of skill in hiring the lecturers who do the teaching who drive the scores of the league tables.

If they had any sense, would they have hired a lecturer who had already been given the sack at another school for harassing women?
Walking the walk, not just talking the psychology talk

Professor Patrick Martens was given a police caution back in 2008 after the women complained, and so he moved on to another school. Instead of remaining in England, he crossed the Irish Sea and found employment at another British institution. He had not learned from his earlier escapades, and managed to repeat them. He was a psychology researcher, so clearly he knew a thing or two about the mind. Not so much about his own, apparently.

At Queen's, the professor went about his teaching duties and just couldn't resist the urge to make someone's life a misery. There was something about women and Mr. Martens that he just couldn't get away from. A woman at Queen's lodged a complaint shortly after the professor arrived. Mr. Martens took umbrage, but he went after a fellow academic whose duties included investigating such harassment complaints. 

Went after is too weak a term. Professor Martens barraged his victim with hate mail for months. At trial it was revealed that the professor's colleague received over 500 bits of correspondence, including phone calls and e-mails and good old snail mail. Oh, yes, and he threatened to slaughter the academic and the academic's family.

Is this the sort of person you'd want teaching your offspring about psychology? He doesn't seem to have much grasp of the topic, does he?

Who thought he was the right man for the job? Was it his own experience as a patient in a mental hospital that added weight to his CV? Was it the treatment he received in England for mental health issues that made him the perfect candidate for the post?

The prof was quickly barred from the university campus and had to keep his distance from the colleague's home in County Antrim. So there he was, without a job again and facing a stint in prison.

But this is a political psychology wizard, and Mr. Martens managed to get out of Belfast and back to his hometown in Germany by using a clever ploy. He threw himself on the mercy of the court, citing an urgent need to get back home to be with his son who was seriously ill. The judge fell for it. Maybe the professor was a better instructor in psychology than his bizarre actions suggested.

Professor Martens was back in court yesterday to face charges that he lied through his teeth about having a critically ill son. There is no son. Mr. Martens just wanted to get out of jail.

He will no doubt find himself behind bars soon enough. Lying to a judge is not an offense that the courts take lightly, especially when the victim of the stalking crime was roaring about the injustice in letting Mr. Martens go to Germany in the first place.

It makes you wonder, if the lunatics are running the asylums. And the universities.

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