That immediately meant that I was a liar. Apparently, Swansea had never heard of me. So,I explained to both parties that there had been such a study and I had numerous documents to prove this -including university headed note paper, compliments slips and my name on documents along with those involved. The immediate response was "So you think this is a cover-up by the university -is DEFRA involved? Followed by "What is your response to the university cover up and calling you a liar?" If you have dealt with journalists you'll know how it works.
Did I have to copy all the documents and submit them as proof I was not a liar?
You see, I have always treated my work as private and correspondence as confidential and I have never ever breached that rule in over 40 years. I had bad experiences with two universities before Swansea but I was promised that those involved followed strict protocols and data is fully credited and acknowledge and they would not give me cause for complaint: this was a serious project.
So I agreed.
I even (and I could smash my head into a wall repeatedly over this) handed over field maps, documents and rare books -none were ever returned. Replacing the books cost me around £400 when I eventually managed to find copies. The other material -lost.
My phone calls and messages to the project supervisor at home and the university -never responded to. Letters -never responded to. This happened suddenly and without explanation and considering that I had publicly defended the professor in charge when her credibility was challenged online -and had been there to listen and offer advice on attacks on this persons own livestock you can imagine that it was not just a betrayal but a really hard kick to the stomach. I contemplated just stopping the work. As it was, the original Red Paper: Felids had to be scrapped because it included photographs,maps and data from the people at Swansea that I could not use without permission.
Even after a few years that still hurts.
I could have given the sort of publicity no university wants. But, no, you see, I abide by clear-cut and professional behaviour. All I did was give the reporters the details below from the University of Swansea website.
I have had two other universities contact me since that time and I have refused outright to have any dealings with them. Three times "academics" have used me, my data and then back-stabbed me. If you see anything in the press now -you know the facts. I am tight-lipped.
Folk demons or exotic cats: patterns and perceptions of predation in rural Wales (awarded 2009)Student name: Alaric SmithPhDSupervisor: Professor Alayne Street-PerrottOther supervisor: Dr Pyrs Gruffudd