Bernard King, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Abertay Dundee, has been suspended by the chair of the institution’s court “pending investigation of a number of issues that have been brought to the chair’s attention”, the university said on 1 February.
It added that Nicholas Terry, vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor, was suspended on 21 January “pending investigation of a number of issues”.
The university said that the reasons for Professor Terry’s suspension “are separate from the issues relating to the principal’s suspension”.
Abertay Dundee has appointed Steve Olivier, pro vice-chancellor (academic development), as acting principal and vice-chancellor pending the outcome of its enquiries.
It said arrangements had been put in place “to ensure that the operations of the university will remain as unaffected as possible”.
Professor King has been vice-chancellor of Abertay Dundee since 1992, and in recent months has been outspoken in his demands for additional funding for Scottish universities.
He has also been a vocal critic of the decision to treble tuition fees in England.
An unnamed source told The Courier newspaper that Abertay Dundee was in “complete shock” following news of Professor King’s suspension.
“It is extremely surprising because Bernard is so well known. He is widely thought of as the man who took a not particularly well thought of technical college and turned it into a very well thought of university,” the source is quoted as saying.
David Currie, president of University of Abertay Dundee Students’ Association, said: “It is important that students are aware there will be no impact to the academic delivery of courses at the institution and the day-to-day running of the university will continue as normal.
"I have complete confidence in the procedures that have been put in place and have been liaising closely with the acting principal to ensure the student experience at Abertay will not be adversely affected.”