The Straw that broke UCL’s back?

This is one of the letters sent to UCL to stop the critical evaluation of Nutritionist, Dr Ann Walker, by Prof. David Colquhoun.
I have transcribed it as truthfully as I could, but any errors occurring in the text are mine. I have excluded the address of the “accuser” to save falling foul of the Data Protection Act. All the other information is available via the FOI and I hope the other letters to and from UCL will become available soon.
The fact that no complaint was made to David Colquhoun personally and that any other minor grievances were resolved immediately after being flagged give me a feeling of bullying by UCL.
I personally think it’s an affront to freedom of speech, critical evaluation of questionable practices and scientific inquiry.
It has stifled a rational and well renowned consumer website and forced it to relocate due to the whim of UCL’s board. I would have expected more from one of the world’s most renowned academic institutions and wouldn’t  be surprised if New Vitality (or should that be New Vitality(R)?) get complaints from the ASA and even Trading Standards through their questionable training and practices before too long. They’ve obviously forfeited their right to rational, evidenced based debate as most scientists require.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Happy reading.

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Tuesday, 08 May 2007

Professor Malcolm Grant
President and Provost
University College London
Gower Street
London
WC1E 6BT

Dear Professor Grant

Speaking as as retired academic (University of Reading 1959-97), I am fully aware of the pressures upon you, and so I apologise in advance for adding to them.

However, a serious situation has arisen whereby incorrect, misleading and defamatory statements about my wife (Dr Ann Walker) have been made on a website hosted by UCL; namely: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Pharmacology/dc-bits/quack.html

As you will be aware, website hosts have some responsibility (probably total, in this case) for the content of the pages on their websites. Hence, we respectfully request that all reference to “Ann Walker” be removed from these pages forthwith.
(Fortunately, the Google search engine has not yet indexed these particular pages. should this happen, our grievance will be exacerbated.)

To this complaint against UCL must be added one of copyright infringement.

Without our permission, a page ‘cut-out’ has been taken from our website (newvitality.org.uk), placed on the above UCL website and used as a focus for derogatory remarks. The person that did this must have known that both the text and the graphic pertaining to this ‘cut-out’ are our property, and that UCL has no rights to display them in this way. Hence, would you please arrange for the ‘cut-out’ to be removed from the UCL website as a matter of urgency.

Also, I think it important that you should know that I am writing to the Vice-Provost Marilyn Gallyer because I wish to have a paper circulated to all UCL Council Members.
It will concern the misuse, for private purposes, of the College’s IT resources (and possibly office space and secretarial facilities). If the demands on these vital commodities at UCL are anything like those at Reading, I am amazed that this support should be afforded to an emeritus professor for the dissemination of his personal views. (Ironically, he expresses concerns about public monies being wasted by the NHS, and yet he has no compunction about his own misuse of UCL resources!)

Again, I apologise for taking up your time on these matters, but we cannot have my wife’s reputation damaged in this way, nor have our copyright infringed, nor stand by and see valuable academic resources misused.

Yours sincerely.

Alan L Lakin, PhD FRSC

cc Vice-Provost Marilyn Gallyer

Sid R
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