April 19, 2024

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The Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) removed Professor Vicenç Navarro in 2021 after a complaint with which he detected 25 years of alleged abuse of authority, sources from the center have explained. The teacher was filed by the center attached to the UPF Barcelona School of Management (BSM), where he was a professor when he was denounced in 2021, according to eldiario.es and the newspaper. Oh. A spokesman for the university admits that the BSM opened an internal file after “the formal complaint for workplace harassment” by a worker “with the final result of discontinuation of the employment relationship” with the affiliated center in May 2021. Navarro was linked to the BSM since 2018. Until that date he was emeritus professor at Pompeu. He was 83 years old when he was fired.

The investigation carried out by the two newspapers reveals accusations of workplace harassment and intimidation – constant shouting, contemptuous comments and some insults – towards several close workers, from secretaries or researchers, a situation that ended up leading to depression or low anxiety. Professors and academic coordinators of the programs in which Navarro participated also assure that they received demands outside of working hours, at night or even at dawn. Some workers claim that they complained to the management or Human Resources of the BSM, to no avail. Most did so verbally, but one was by letter in 2019.

The victims of Navarro’s behavior were mainly lower-ranking personnel who worked under him, such as secretaries, researchers, or associate professors. “He had come to work in the dark so he wouldn’t know he was in the office. I even jumped out the window so that he wouldn’t find me, ”says one of these teachers to the daily now. Another worker explains that the teacher even threw a stapler at her head and that he was very demanding with his secretaries, from whom he asked for an immediate response to his requests, to such an extent that he had come to enter the women’s washroom

The UPF has assured this Tuesday in a statement that in 2021 a formal complaint of workplace harassment against Navarro was received and the center opened a file. In May of that year, the professor presented his retirement “after learning that the center had decided to discontinue his employment relationship as a result of the open investigation,” the campus abounds. Likewise, at the request of Rector Laia de Nadal, an “ex officio review” has been initiated to clarify the facts.

Navarro assures that everything published “is an enormous falsehood”, and also assures that the university did not terminate him. “I am the one who left and even the rector Jaume Casals (in office until 2021) asked me to stay,” the professor assured this newspaper. The former teacher assures that he never received any notice from the Human Resources department and regrets that he was not able to participate in the report made by the BSM or have access to it. “They have not consulted me or asked me questions during the investigation, they let me know when it was done and they do not let me have access to it,” he complains. For Navarro, this fact shows “that there is something more behind this” and that the complaint is part of a strategy to “destroy” and “discredit” it. “Why after 20 years does this come out?” He questions.

The investigation carried out by the Barcelona School of Management confirmed the version of the workers, due to the “number of testimonies that described the same events”. Sources from the center quoted by eldiario.es assure that Navarro was summoned to communicate the conclusions of the report and was given “the opportunity to make allegations.” But the academic did not acknowledge the facts or provide evidence of his innocence, so the center informed him of the decision to end the employment relationship.

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In addition to his career at UPF, Navarro has been a professor of Applied Economics at the University of Barcelona and a professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was appointed doctor honoris causa by the University of Lleida and by the University of Malaga. In the political sphere, he closed the electoral lists in the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia in 2015 with the initials of Catalunya Sí que es Pot, which ended up joining Podemos.

This is not the only scandal affecting the UPF. Another investigation by eldiario.es uncovered another alleged case of workplace harassment by Professor Rafael Maldonado. Here some twenty researchers describe a “climate of terror” and “coercion” for almost two decades within Neurophar, the University’s Neuropharmacology laboratory.

Beyond this case, Pompeu assures that since March it has been working “in a process of reviewing the mechanisms and procedures to channel and resolve cases that may affect the well-being of people.” And it advances that it proposes improvements such as reviewing the instruction system of informative and disciplinary files, or that during the denunciation of a case external advice can be counted on.

After learning the news, the Generalitat’s Minister for Equality and Feminism, Tània Verge, has called for prevention and reparation: “Universities must be safe spaces and free from harassment and violence. The duty to act goes far beyond waiting for a complaint to be filed when there are suspicions”.

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