Scientist disciplined over fruit bat sex story

Posted by Emma Woollacott

As a method of seduction, it's probably not that great. But a scientist at University College, Cork, has been accused of sexual harrassment for showing a colleague a scientific paper on fruitbats.

As it happens, we on TG Daily got sent a copy of the same paper, but didn't go rushing out to pull on the basis of it. Titled 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time',  it simply got filed right next to 'Urine sprays during courtship send mixed messages',  a rather thrilling little number about crayfish.

Anyway, they seem to be a bit more imaginative in Ireland. When Dr Dylan Evans showed the article to a female colleague, she promptly accused him of sexual harassment.

The president of UCC, Professor Michael Murphy, accepted that Evans had meant no harm, but ordered him to undergo a two-year period of monitoring and 'special training'. Evans fears his application for tenure may be turned down as a result.

But, unlike the male fruit bat, he isn't taking it lying down.

A petition has been created, here, calling for his name to be cleared. "We find that the action of the Professor Michael Murphy seriously damages the reputation of UCC and strikes a serious blow at the heart of academic freedom," it reads. 

"We therefore demand that the President of UCC remove the sanctions from Dr Evans, and also that he initiate a full and frank review of the University's policy on harassment so that it may not be abused in future to block normal academic debate."