Devon

Plymouth University pays lawyers £150k during bosses’ feud

Plymouth University
Image caption The university has paid lawyers £153,135 in seven months

A university which is embroiled in a row between its two most powerful boardroom figures has paid a law firm more than £150,000 in seven months.

Plymouth University chief executive Wendy Purcell is currently suspended and chairman William Taylor "stepped aside" as each faces a separate investigation into their conduct.

The BBC can reveal that since March, £153,135 has been paid to law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV).

The university is yet to comment.

Image caption Chairman of governors William Taylor faces allegations of sexual harassment

It is not known if the firm is working on cases other than the matters involving Prof Purcell and Mr Taylor.

Documents seen by the BBC reveal that in June VWV was paid £27,091 for "advice relating to vice chancellor in relation to Wendy Purcell".

Prof Purcell was placed on leave in June. The university has not given a reason for her suspension.

Image copyright Plymouth University
Image caption Wendy Purcell has been vice-chancellor of the university since 2007

Mr Taylor, a retired judge, is facing a separate investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. He "categorically denies" the allegations.

The allegations were made in July by Prof Purcell on behalf of a number of women.

A senior barrister was appointed by the university in August to support its investigation into the allegations against Mr Taylor.


Timeline of events

Sources: HEFCE report and BBC News


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