Plymouth University council chair to be investigated over sexual harassment claims

The Plymouth University chair of governors who “placed on leave” its vice-chancellor will be investigated over claims he sexually harassed female staff

August 20, 2014

Source: Alamy

William Taylor, a retired judge, who denies the allegations, has called in an independent QC to investigate the claims.

In July, the Plymouth vice-chancellor, Wendy Purcell, was “placed on leave” by Mr Taylor and the board of governors.

According to Mr Taylor, it was Professor Purcell who “submitted” the allegations against him to the governors.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England had already recommended that Plymouth undertake an external, independent review of its governance following the events surrounding Professor Purcell.

Mr Taylor yesterday released a statement as a BBC report online revealed the nature of the allegations against him.

He said: “I am aware that at a very late stage in the review of matters involving the vice-chancellor, she submitted allegations against me to my fellow governors. 

“I categorically deny these allegations which I consider to be defamatory. I have personally insisted that, together with the university, these are robustly investigated by an independent expert. 

“It would clearly be inappropriate to comment further while that investigation is in train, except to say that these are deeply hurtful [allegations].”

Barbara Bond, Plymouth’s former pro-chancellor and chair of governors, released a statement last week in which she criticised Mr Taylor’s alleged “poor governance practice, the nature of his working relationship with the vice-chancellor” and “his manner when dealing with female members of staff and students”.

She also alleged that he had a “record of inappropriate behaviour”.

Hefce had said in its report on Plymouth that it had received “allegations about the conduct” of Mr Taylor, but that there was “insufficient evidence” for it to investigate.

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

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