SENIOR managers at Anglia Polytechnic University face an investigation by the Higher Education Funding Council for England after complaints that they have attempted a cover-up of allegations exposed in a four-month investigation by The THES.
HEFCE is understood to be looking into complaints that the university failed to investigate properly allegations of nepotism, bullying and mismangement against its business school dean, Hugh Jenkins, and complaints that it victimised the whistleblower who raised the alarm. John Watts, head of management development, has been suspended for the past four months without a hearing.
This week HEFCE's chief spokesman said: "We are currently looking at whether the university has investigated certain allegations, brought to our attention, in a proper and effective manner. We will then pursue the matter as necessary with the vice-chancellor."
Allegations have centred on Professor Jenkins, whose son, Jonathan, has been a lecturer in his father's management development division. Complaints were raised that Mr Jenkins was found a temporary post to suit his experience, was later given a permanent post, and was given two promotions despite a poor academic record and a string of complaints about his teaching competence.
Vice-chancellor Mike Malone-Lee has refused to answer the following questions from The THES: * Why did the university issue a statement claiming that its audit and compliance committee found "no foundation" to any of the allegations made by Mr Watts when the committee report did raise "a number of issues of internal control"?
* Why was Mr Watts suspended?
* Why did Steve Marshall, pro vice-chancellor, tell staff that police had advised the university not to investigate hate mail against Mr Watts and five colleagues when the police have categorically denied this?
* The university has insisted that complaints have come from only one source - Mr Watts. Why then did the vice-chancellor write to all staff in the manangement development division, accusing them of a "conspiracy"?
It is understood that lecturers' union Natfhe, which represents both parties in the dispute, has called for an external inquiry.