British Board Backs Prof in Spat With 'Zionist' Student Over 62 Grade

Grad Student Complained After Pro-Israel Thesis Was Panned

By JTA

Published September 24, 2013.
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An English review board has rejected bias complaints by an Israeli student against the University of Warwick but recommended the university apologize for being “insufficiently flexible.”

“The complaint is partly justified,” the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, England’s body for reviewing student complaints, wrote in its recommendation last month on how to handle the 2012 complaint by Smadar Bakovic, an Israeli master’s student, against her former thesis supervisor, Nicola Pratt.

The Office recommended the university apologize to Bakovic and compensate her $1,600 for not providing her with a new supervisor as she requested. Bakovic, a master’s student in international relations, cited Pratt’s outspoken views “against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank,” as stated in a petition cosigned by Pratt in 2009, in arguing that Pratt was biased.

The Office rejected Bakovic’s claims that Pratt had displayed bias in grading Bakovic’s thesis.

“We are not persuaded that there is sufficient evidence to establish that Professor [Pratt] was biased because of the views that she held,” the Office wrote.

Pratt gave Bakovic a grade of 62 points out of 100 and wrote that Bakovic tended to “adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as though they were uncontested facts.”

When Bakovic requested a blind regrade, a second marker graded her thesis “only slightly higher” than the grade given by Pratt, the Office said in its recommendation.


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