THE University of Worcester is set to review an honorary professorship given to a celebrated academic who has since been accused of bullying and sexual harassment by students.

An investigation found Dr Hikmet Budak “more likely than not” to have engaged in discrimination, hostile environment harassment and retaliation against students and employees, according to a report leaked to Worcester News.

He was accused of inappropriately touching female students and employees and demonstrating “preferential behaviour” towards those he was attracted to, while firing one who questioned his actions while working at an American university.

The environment in his lab was described as as one of “isolation and manipulation” in which he allegedly discriminated on grounds of sex, religion and disabilities.

He was awarded the honorary title by the University of Worcester in 2017 in recognition of his work in the field of Cereal Genomics at Montana State University (MSU) in USA.

While working within MSU’s Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, he was accused of behaving inappropriately by a number of female students working in his lab. The allegations date to the beginning of April 2018.

Following an internal probe, we understand Dr Budak withdrew an appeal on May 9 and is awaiting sanctions having now transferred to Illinois Tech where he serves as chair of the Department of Biology.

Having been placed on administrative leave in August, Dr Budak was issued with a formal complaint by the MSU’s Office of Institutional Equity on October 3.

A UoW spokesman said Dr Budak, despite the honorary title, “is not, and has never been, an employee of the University of Worcester” but described the allegations as “deeply concerning.”

The enquiry will continue at the next Academic Board meeting when the professorship will be reviewed, added the spokesman.