Tayside and Central Scotland

Abertay University boss must 'stand down'

Prof Bernard King
Image caption Prof Bernard King was suspended by the university earlier this year

A leading academic at Abertay University has called on the chairman of its governing body to resign over the row with its principal.

In an e-mail seen by the BBC, Professor Phillipe Baveye accused the university court of being "amateurish, inept, incompetent and irresponsible".

Professor Bernard King was suspended as principal earlier this year.

Abertay University said it strongly rejected the allegations over the court's competence.

Prof King has pledged to fight the university's announcement on Friday that he had retired.

In the e-mail, Prof Baveye said the university had been operating in a climate of "suspicion, intrigue and fear" for five months, and called on the chairman of the university court, Nigel Hawkins, to resign.

He said: "Like many, if not most, members of the faculty at Abertay, I have been distressed at the chaos, bad press, and level of uncertainty that have affected the university over the last five months."

'Information blackout'

Prof Baveye accused the university court of maintaining an "information blackout" since January - when Prof King was suspended - and said it had displayed an "incredible level of incompetence ever since".

He added: "That a man of Bernard King's stature and national standing could be suspended without a single word of explanation to anyone is just incredible, and has caused immense damage to Abertay's reputation and credibility.

"Court members probably do not realize this, but we do, as we are constantly asked about this bizarre turn of event when we travel in the UK or abroad."

The professor also claimed the affair had cost Abertay University £500,000 in legal and administrative costs.

Prof King, who is 65, alleges he has faced discrimination on grounds of age and has lodged papers with an employment tribunal.

In response to the publication of the e-mail, a spokesman for Abertay University said it was sad Prof Baveye had chosen to use such "intemperate and inflammatory language" to make his point.

The spokesman said: "We will not comment on those elements of his e-mail that refer to current unresolved issues relating to the former employment of Professor Bernard King, whose retirement as principal took place last week.

"However, the e-mail does contain numerous misrepresentations, misleading statements and serious allegations, which we reject utterly.

"Professor Baveye's views are certainly not shared by the majority of staff, and we must allow for the fact that he spends only 25% of his time at Abertay, so perhaps he is not as aware of the detail of current developments as his colleagues."

He added that the university "strongly rejected" Prof Baveye's claims of incompetence against the court and the "climate" at Abertay.

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