Devon

Plymouth University boss returns after suspension

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

Plymouth University's vice chancellor has returned to work after she was suspended following complaints about her conduct.

Prof Wendy Purcell was suspended from her £288,000 a year post in July, pending a review.

She retains her job title however her deputy, who has been acting vice chancellor, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the university.

A spokesman said Prof Purcell will focus on "external relations".

'No confidence'

No details have been released about the allegations which were made against Prof Purcell, or what the inquiry found.

A university spokesman confirmed that her deputy, Prof David Coslett, who has been acting vice chancellor during her absence, was now interim chief executive and accountable officer.

Prof Purcell's return comes two weeks after academic staff backed a vote of no confidence in her.

Almost 250 members of the University and College Union backed the motion which said problems at the university risked damaging the institution.

Image caption The university has been in turmoil after a boardroom feud

The establishment has been in turmoil after a boardroom feud left it without Prof Purcell and its chairman William Taylor - its two most senior figures.

Mr Taylor, a retired judge, resigned following claims of sexual harassment, which he has "categorically" denied.

Difficult time

Plymouth Argyle boss, businessman James Brent, became the university's new chairman of governors on 3 November.

Mr Brent said: "It has been a difficult time for the university and Prof Purcell over the last few months and we can now move on from this period of uncertainty.

"The investigation has been brought to a close and the board is pleased that agreement has been reached on her return to work."

Prof Purcell said: "The past few months have been very difficult personally and professionally. But we've learned a lot about ourselves and that will make us stronger in the long-term."


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