Plymouth University row: MP talks to government
- 29 August 2014
- From the section Devon
A bitter feud that rocked the Plymouth University boardroom will be raised with the government, an MP has said.
MP Oliver Colvile said the row - which has seen the chairman of governors William Taylor temporarily stand aside and the vice chancellor Wendy Purcell suspended as they both face separate investigations - could damage the city.
Mr Colvile said he would discuss the impact with a government minister.
The university said those involved were trying to resolve the situation.
'Implications for Plymouth'
Mr Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, said he would be talking to Matthew Hancock, the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, about "what action he is proposing to take and if there's anything the government can try and do".
"I think it has got potential implications for it [Plymouth] which is why we need to clear this up as quickly as we can," he said.
"The university is a key player in the city but we need to be making sure we send out the right message that Plymouth is the place people should be investing in."
'Reassured Mr Colvile'
Earlier this month, retired judge Mr Taylor decided to temporarily "stand aside" while he is investigated about claims of sexual harassment.
The accusations were submitted by Prof Purcell, who is currently suspended as she faces an investigation into her conduct.
She was suspended from her £288,000-a-year post in June. The university is yet to reveal the reason for her suspension.
Prof David Coslett, the deputy vice chancellor, said: "I have reassured Mr Colvile, as well as the wider business community, that the relevant parties are trying to resolve the current situation as quickly as possible.
"The strong relationships the university has with the city and business sector, as well as with key influencers nationally and internationally, will ensure that we continue to use our expertise for the good of the city and the region.
"We continue to play our part in attracting millions of pounds in inward investment into the region and continue to support the business community."
Timeline of events
- 29 May - The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was notified by the university of an internal investigation into the conduct of the vice-chancellor
- In early June, the council was contacted by a source at the university about a "governance crisis" and requested HEFCE's intervention
- Also in early June, the council received allegations about the conduct of the chairman
- 18 June - HEFCE's head of assurance visited the university to review documentation
- 2 July - It was revealed the vice-chancellor had been suspended pending a review
- In July, a brief report following the inquiries was prepared for HEFCE
- 12 August - the university's board of governors said it was "united" behind the review process
- 14 August - Pro-chancellor Barbara Bond MBE leaves
- 15 August - Barbara Bond MBE claims she was "forced out" as a result of the dispute
- 20 August - Chairman of governors William Taylor accused of sexual harassment, which he denies
- 21 August - Mr Taylor temporarily "stands aside" from his role at the university
Sources: HEFCE report and BBC News