Nottingham University lecturer apologises after being caught calling students 'semi-literate' and an 'idiot' on Facebook

English lecturer Tony Fisher also described his employer's HR department as "absolute a***holes"

Education Editor

A university lecturer has had to apologise after online comments about some of his students – including labelling one of them “semi-literate” and an “idiot” - unwittingly became public knowledge.

Tony Fisher, an English lecturer at Nottingham University, also described his university’s human resources department as “absolute a***holes”.

Mr Fisher’s comments, whose postings date back to last November, were intended for private consumption by friends on his Facebook account but became publicly visible after he made a mistake in altering his settings.

They have landed him in hot water with the university’s School of English which suspended him from being involved in future assessment procedures at the school. His contract with the university expires this month.

In one comment, he called a student “an idiot”. Quoting a phrase from an essay he was marking, he said: “She’s an idiot as the rest of her ‘essay’ (and I use the word advisedly) confirms.”

He added that points made in the essay were “the result of semi-literacy” and added: “She’s a creative genius.”

Students protested over the comments, which were later published in Impact, the student union magazine, claiming it would be possible for the student to identify herself.

While marking the exam papers of a third year sociolinguistics module, Mr Fisher also quoted the first question on the paper and a student’s answer, commenting; “First answer on the exam script  - it’s not looking good, kid.”

He also posted quotes from individual exam scripts on other occasions.

Following the complaints, Mr Fisher said he “apologised unconditionally” for the comments which he understood “have caused considerable distress to the students concerned, to their friends and to other students and staff in the School of English”.

“I would like to stress that I had been posting on Facebook in the belief that my profile page and comments were accessible only to friends,” he added.

“Clearly, I made a mistake when altering my settings and my profile page was in fact public all along. I fully accept that, even in a private context these comments are wholly inappropriate and, with the benefit of hindsight, I deeply regret posting them.”

He said he could only describe the comments “as a way of letting off steam when under pressure”, adding: “I would like to point out at no point did I, nor would I ever, name any individual students.”

A statement posted by the School of English said it “greatly regrets” the incident, adding: “It views the behaviour of Tony Fisher as completely unacceptable and wholly out of character with the teaching ethos of the school.”

It added that the school “can reassure students that Tony Fisher will no longer be involved in any assessment procedures; and all assessed work for the module in question will now be re-marked.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Trainee Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Trainee Sales Executive is re...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer - Peterborough - £18,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Graphic Designer...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Cambridgeshire - £23,000

£22000 - £23000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Front-End Develo...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?