Plymouth University pro chancellor Barbara Bond claims she is 'forced out'

Plymouth University
Image caption Barbara Bond said she had concerns about "questionable governance practice" at the University of Plymouth

A senior figure at Plymouth University claims she has been forced out as part of an ongoing dispute.

Barbara Bond criticised governors, saying she had concerns about "questionable governance practice".

The pro chancellor also criticised a decision to place Vice Chancellor Wendy Purcell on leave, which she said amounted to her being suspended.

The university denied dismissing Mrs Bond, saying her term of office as pro chancellor had ended.

Barbara Bond MBE has held a number of senior positions at the university.

Her term of office as pro chancellor came to an end last month, but she said she had been asked to stay on by Professor Purcell.

Timeline of events

  • 29 May 2014 - 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 the discloser about a "governance crisis" at the university 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 from the discloser
  • In July a brief report following the enquiries was prepared for Hefce

Sources: Preliminary report and BBC News

Last month, Prof Purcell was "placed on leave" by the university's governing body and its chairman, retired Judge Bill Taylor.

In a statement, she called on the board to reinstate Prof Purcell before it does "any more damage" to the university.

Mrs Bond said she has longstanding concerns about "questionable governance practice" at Plymouth University.

She also claimed the board lacked the experience to deal with the ambitions and development of the university under Prof Purcell's leadership.

Mrs Bond said she told the Higher Education and Funding Council for England (Hefce) about her concerns.

The Hefce visited the university in June and recommended an external review of governance, but said there was not enough evidence to justify an investigation into the university's governing body.

It also confirmed that the ongoing investigation of complaints against the vice chancellor was "properly a matter for the university and its governing body to determine".

The university said it categorically refuted any assertions that its governance was "in crisis".

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