Olivia Cole amongst the 'Facebook poets', standing, red dress.
Padel’s claims she did nothing to ‘smear’ Walcott are looking even shakier – Olivia Cole, the journalist to whom she chose to raise ‘student concerns’ is in fact a gossip diarist for the Evening Standard.
Interestingly, however, she is an Oxford graduate, and an award-winning fellow-poet, listed in April 2009 as one of the Times’s ten rising stars of poetry (were they photographed in the Oxford Union?). Olivia Cole, 28, read English (Padel read English and Classics at LMH) at Christ Church, got a first in Mods (and, one assumes in Finals), and won the Gibbs Prize for a thesis on Sylvia Plath. Cole quotes Plath on page 4 of her 13 May 2009 article for the Spectator, which covered Walcott’s ‘dignified halt’ to the campaign. No mention there of the email which she had received from Padel on 9 April.
Much of her poetry is online, including “Julia“, “A to Z“, and “Gossip Column“. See what you think.
Poor woman does not take a good photo. (c) Press Association.
Here is the text of the email Ruth Padel (who resigned as Oxford’s Professor of Poetry yesterday) sent to Olivia Cole, ensuring the press knew about the past of her then-rival, Derek Walcott.
“ON the CHair, there is still no other nomination except (so extraordinarily) Derek W and me. But thye close on 29th April so another or others may well turnup…
“THere is aupposed to be a book called The Lecherous Professor, which has 6 pages on Derek Walcott’s two cases of sexual harassment, which might provide interestigfn copy on what Oxford wants from its professors.. ALl best, Ruth.”
Published by the Torygraph among other papers, Padel’s (incredibly badly-spelt) email – which she denied sending – doesn’t mention the ‘student concerns’ she claimed prompted her to tip off the press (as opposed, one assumes, to the University itself).
At a press conference today, Padel spoke of her ‘relief’ at quitting, and called the emails she sent ‘naive and silly’. However, she still denies having done anything wrong. Unsurprisingly, she has ruled out the possibility of standing for reelection – can you imagine if she tried to run again?!
Meanwhile in Oxford, students finishing English Finals at the Exam Schools (where the election was held earlier this month) were filmed emerging from their exams by media cameras; University staff supervising the event said the footage would be used as part of the coverage of Padel’s resignation.