Top UK Poetry Prof Refuses to Step Down
Oxford academic in brouhaha over sex allegation against rival
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2009 5:00 PM CDT
Ruth Padel is pictured. Padel admitted to sending damaging emails about her rival for a top poetry post to journalists.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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(Newser) – The first woman to hold Britain's highest academic post in poetry refuses to resign despite
an uproar over whether she ran a dirty election campaign, reviving decades-old sexual harassment claims against her main rival, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, the Guardian reports. Oxford Professor of Poetry-elect Ruth Padel admits she pointed two journalists to a book called The Lecherous Professor, which detailed claims against Walcott, but denies sending anonymous letters to Oxford professors reminding them of the allegations.

Three days after the mailing, Walcott withdrew, saying the race had "degenerated into a low and degrading attempt at character assassination." Now prominent figures are calling for Padel to quit. “She would be wise to recuse herself and ask for the whole thing to begin again,” broadcaster Clive James said.