Top college principal suspended in “bullying” investigation

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THE boss of one of Scotland’s biggest colleges has been suspended amid claims there was a culture of “bullying” on campus.

Dr Craig Thomson has been suspended while governors at Adam Smith College, Fife, wait for the result of a disciplinary enquiry.

The principal  has been on leave of absence for the past four weeks and staff in the college were informed of his suspension on Wednesday.

Dr Craig Thomson was suspended following the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry 

Dr Thomson has refuted claims that he allowed a culture of bullying at the institution, describing teh allegations as “unfounded and ridiculous”.

Famous alumni of the college include actors Ewan McGregor, Dougray Scott and Shirley Henderson.

A spokesman for the college said today: “A decision has been made by the chairman of the Board of Governors to suspend with immediate effect, the principal, Dr Craig Thomson, pending the outcome of a disciplinary enquiry.”

Ian Harrington, vice-principal, will operate the college while the enquiry takes place.

The spokesman added: “They are committed to ensuring that the interests of students and staff are paramount and that disruption to the normal work of the college during this period is kept to an absolute minimum.”

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) were called on to investigate the allegations and will conclude tomorrow.

The SFC have been on campus for the past four weeks while Dr Thomson has been on leave.

His wife, Linda, and management staff, Sandra Rhodes and Christine Sinclair, have also been on leave during the investigation.

A number of staff have been helping with the investigation, with as many as 200 coming forward with information.

One said: “Stage one was effectively a temperature check and a chance to get a sense of the scale of the issues. Now they are gathering specific information – and a lot of people have come forward.”

The investigation was launched in February following a string of complaints about long-standing harassment issues.

But Dr Thomson strongly denied these claims saying at the time: “The allegations made are unfounded and quite ridiculous.

“However, in the spirit of open engagement, I feel it’s necessary to meet face-to-face with all staff members to discuss any concerns they may have.

“No member of staff should be subject to bullying or hostility and no staff at Adam Smith College should be the victim of malicious actions designed to undermine or discredit them.”

The report will be read by education secretary Mike Russell next week and a decision is set to be made by next month.

David Torrance, MSP, who led calls for the inquiry said: “I hope this is resolved quickly so the college can move forward.”

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