Students at Bedfordshire University are petitioning against the imprisonment of their psychology lecturer, Dr. Theodora Dallas, who was jailed for contempt of court last week. The Facebook page they’ve set up is called ‘Free Theodora Dallas – This Woman’s “Offence” Doesn’t Warrant Jail’.
Dallas is by no means the only lecturer serving time. In fact, a cursory Google search reveals the prisons to be awash with fallen academics. Among their number are several law lecturers.
There’s Malcolm Edwards-Sayer, formerly of South East Derbyshire College, sentenced to ten years in jail in 2007 for his part in a £51m VAT scam.
And Julian Myerscough of the University of East Anglia, who a year ago was jailed for 15 months after being convicted of five child pornography offences.
Farther afield, Japanese law lecturer Megumi Ogawa was sentenced to six months in the slammer in 2009 for, amongst other things, mooning at an Australian judge. Ogawa also threatened to kill Australian court officials.
Back on these shores, in 2008 Southampton Solent University law lecturer Paul Kavanagh was handed a 12-month community order – but avoided jail – for harassing a criminology student after their relationship ended.
Certainly, in comparison with this lot, Dallas – whose crime was to do a spot of internet research on one of the defendants while serving on a jury – seems to have been dealt with rather harshly. The petition to free her is here.