Struther Arnott, principal of St Andrews University, has been condemned for comments that seem to question a former student's account of her rape during an exchange trip to Odessa in Ukraine.
Erin MacLean, who has forgone anonymity and is considering suing the university, says she was raped in 1996 by three soldiers while leaving a beach early in the morning.
Asked if he doubts her account, Professor Arnott said in an interview this week with The Scotsman: "I don't feel the university has any moral obligation to act. We can't be responsible for students all the time. But if you were in Glasgow Cathedral at 11.30am on Sunday morning, would you feel safe? Of course. But if you were in the same place at 4am on Friday morning, I could not give the same guarantee for your safety."
Ms MacLean has attacked his comments as "an incredible insult" to any woman who has been sexually assaulted. The principal was unavailable for comment this week.