Ministry derails train buff's job

Denmark's ministry of education has reprimanded the University of Odense for abolishing a professorship that had been given to an "undesired" candidate.

Odense's conduct, in first advertising the post of professor in economic and social history and then abolishing it when the appointments committee chose a candidate who was not the one selected by the university itself, was called "criticisable and unfortunate" by Carl Erik Lautrap, a head of department at the ministry. The procedure and the advertised professorship were not "transparent".

The university wanted to appoint Per Boje, an associate professor, to the post as he will be editing a new edition of a cultural-social reference book. However, the appointments committee selected Poul Thestrup, who heads the Danish Railways' train museum at Odense.

Odense's management then abolished the professorship. Vice chancellor Henrik Tvarno says that university simply exercised the right of all universities in Denmark to say no to a candidate who the appointments committee had selected. "It seldom happens," he says "but it's quite legal."

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