Scots principal accused of bullying

June 6, 2003

A former social anthropology lecturer at St Andrews University has accused its principal, Brian Lang, of bullying and intimidation.

Declan Quigley, who is claiming constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal in Edinburgh, said the principal had demanded that he retract and apologise for critical remarks he had made about social anthropology professor Nigel Rapport. Dr Quigley said his comments, in an email to colleagues that had subsequently been "maliciously" forwarded to Professor Rapport, were not personal criticisms, but he disagreed with Professor Rapport intellectually.

Dr Quigley, who later resigned, claims there were intolerable working conditions because of mismanagement and bullying within the social anthropology department.

He told the tribunal that in the wake of a departmental review by two senior staff, the principal had behaved in a bullying and threatening manner that had intimidated staff into silence.

He said that Dr Lang had warned that if things did not change in the department, he would "come down very heavily" on those concerned, and implied that all the members of the department were equally to blame. One staff member had been so incensed by the principal's behaviour that he had complained to the Association of University Teachers.

Dr Quigley said he had received abusive emails from a colleague, one telling him to "**** off", and another, circulated to ten people, which he believed suggested he was psychologically ill.

Dr Quigley had lodged these in a promotions appeal and had commented during a chat with the university press officer that he believed things were so bad that someone would end up taking legal action. The press officer reported this to deputy-principal Colin Vincent, who accused him of attempting to blackmail the university.

The university denies constructive dismissal. The tribunal continues.

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