Current Affairs

BREAKING: Christ Church Dean steps down from duties after long-running feud with governing body

The Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy, has withdrawn from his duties as the head of the College.

In an email sent to the College body just after 5 o’clock on Tuesday evening, Christ Church said:

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral”.

The statement adds:

“Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary enquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

In October, The Oxford Blue obtained court documents detailing the extent of the long-running feud between Percy, first elected Dean in 2014, and the College’s Governing Body.

Percy was suspended from office in November 2018, which the Governing Body later said was because of a pay dispute. The Guardian reported that the dispute had started in 2017 when Percy demanded a pay increase after learning that his salary was the lowest of any Oxford college head.

In his court statement, Percy said that abusive emails sent by members of the governing body had affected his mental health. The Times reported that one Christ Church don had called Percy “a manipulative little turd” in an email.

At one point, the College was reported to have offered Percy £1 million for his resignation, with Governing Body declaring that Percy was “not fit to remain a trustee”. The Church of England and the Charities Commission have both intervened in the bitter row.

Percy’s supporters argue that the Governing Body has tried to remove Percy because of modernising reforms he sought to introduce in the College’s safeguarding policy.

The ongoing scandal has cost Christ Church £2 million in legal fees, the College losing an estimate £3 million in bequests and donations.

Christ Church, Oxford and Martyn Percy have been contacted for comment.

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