Bangor Uni head 'harassment' allegation revealed

By Aled ap Dafydd
Chief correspondent, Newyddion9

image captionProf John G Hughes is stepping down as Bangor University Vice-Chancellor at the end of December

An allegation of "harassment" was made against the vice-chancellor of Bangor University, who is retiring from his post at the end of December.

Prof John G Hughes is stepping down from his role earlier than planned after emails apparently about his private life went to staff last week.

The same emails were forwarded to the university back in 2016.

Prof Hughes said the emails had been "doctored" and actions were taken in 2016 by the university.

BBC Wales has seen emails which his former partner Xinyu Wu forwarded to some members of the Gwynedd university's council and senior leadership at that time.

In one message sent from a Linkedin account to Xinyu Wu's new partner, Prof Hughes apparently writes: "Well done mate. I had her youth and beauty, you will have her menopause and her old age (have you seen how Chinese women age!)."

Another email sent from Prof Hughes' Bangor University account to Xinyu Wu shows a picture of him with his new partner and a message that read "10 years younger than you".

Xinyu Wu told BBC Wales' Newyddion 9 that the messages sent to her and her new husband "were not only harassment but they were ageist, sexist and racist"

After receiving the emails in 2016, Xinyu Wu complained to the university about the vice-chancellor's.

"I'm sorry for sending you this email, but could someone please stop your Vice Chancellor from repeatedly harassing us and damaging the University," she wrote.

image copyrightBangor University
image captionBangor University said it dealt with the original complaint in 2016

Prof Hughes told staff earlier in December that the emails had been "doctored" and apologised for "any distress or unease" caused.

In a statement, he added: "The messages attached to this email dating from 2016 have been doctored and, whilst I do not want to go into details regarding what is clearly a very personal matter, I wanted to assure you that the messages are not what they seem."

Following an apology from the vice-chancellor, the university confirmed Prof Hughes would be relinquishing his role as vice-chancellor at the end of the month, rather than as originally planned at the end of the academic year in 2019.

The university head has not responded to further questions from BBC Wales.

Asked about the complaint made in 2016 a Bangor University official said: "Action was taken by the university to resolve the issue raised by her in 2016, and there has been no further correspondence since."

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