Sacked principal seeks tribunal hearing

December 5, 1997

Stan Mason, former principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, has applied for an industrial tribunal hearing, claiming that he has been unfairly dismissed.

The university has warned that Dr Mason, who was fired in September for gross misconduct after an inquiry into staffing procedures, faces "unwelcome publicity" as a result.

Dr Mason, who was Scotland's highest paid principal, was said to have abused his authority by intervening in staffing decisions that should have been left to university procedures. The university has refused to elaborate on the findings, saying that these will form part of a Scottish Higher Education Funding Council inquiry into the use of public funds.

"It is Dr Mason's right to go to a tribunal," said vice principal John Phillips. "But I think it is very sad because I think that it is bound to create unwelcome publicity for him."

The university is confident because it had conducted an "extraordinarily thorough" inquiry over many months.

"The university court decision on the basis of the inquiry report was unanimously to summarily dismiss the principal. That is an almost unprecedented move, and, obviously, it is a very serious move taken only after the most careful consideration and deliberation. The only damage we think will be done is to Dr Mason,'' Professor Phillips said.

A local newspaper has reported that Dr Mason has claimed that the university did not let him put forward his case and that he was given no reason for his dismissal.

"I would reject that out of hand," Professor Phillips said. "Dr Mason has now had ample opportunities to put his point of view in three different fora." These were the internal inquiry into staffing practices, the SHEFC inquiry and an inquiry by Deloitte and Touche commissioned by the university's audit committee.

A SHEFC spokeswoman said that its fieldwork was now complete and that a draft report was under consideration.

"The final version will go to the National Audit Office in due course," she said.

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