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Watchdog clears U.K. university of anti-Israel grading bias

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(JTA) — An English review board rejected bias complaints by an Israeli student against the University of Warwick but recommended the university apologize for being “insufficiently flexible.”

“The complaint is partly justified,” the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, England’s body for reviewing student complaints, wrote in its recommendation last month on how to handle the 2012 complaint by Smadar Bakovic, an Israeli master’s student, against her former thesis supervisor, Nicola Pratt.

The adjudicator’s office recommended the university apologize to Bakovic and compensate her $1,600 for not providing a new supervisor as she requested.

In arguing that Pratt was biased, Bakovic cited Pratt’s outspoken views “against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank,” as stated in a petition cosigned by Pratt in 2009.

The adjudicator’s office rejected the claims by Bakovic that Pratt had displayed bias in grading the thesis of the international relations student.

“We are not persuaded that there is sufficient evidence to establish that Professor [Pratt] was biased because of the views that she held,” the office wrote.

Pratt gave Bakovic a grade of 62 points out of 100 and wrote that Bakovic tended to “adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as though they were uncontested facts.”

In a blind regrade requested by Bakovic, a second marker graded the thesis “only slightly higher” than Pratt, the adjudicator’s office noted in its recommendation.

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