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MP warns of damage to Plymouth amid university row

By GDemianyk  |  Posted: September 01, 2014

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Oliver Colvile MP: "The university is a key player in the city but we need to be making sure we send out the right message that Plymouth is the place people should be investing in.”

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An MP has warned the fall-out at the top of Plymouth University risks damaging the city’s reputation.

Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said he will be raising issues surrounding two investigations with Government ministers in an attempt to resolve matters as “quickly as we can”.

Retired judge William Taylor has stepped down as chairman of governors at the university as an independent investigation is carried out following claims made by vice-chancellor Wendy Purcell. Mr Taylor “categorically” denies allegations of sexual harassment.

Professor Purcell remains on leave after being suspended by the board of governors in June, and faces a separate investigation. The university is yet to reveal the reason for the suspension.

Mr Colvile said he would be talking to Matthew Hancock, a Minister of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, about “what action he is proposing to take and if there's anything the government can try and do”.

“I think it has got potential implications for it (Plymouth) which is why we need to clear this up as quickly as we can,” Mr Colvile told the BBC.

“The university is a key player in the city but we need to be making sure we send out the right message that Plymouth is the place people should be investing in.”

Last month, Barbara Bond left her post as the university’s pro-chancellor, claiming she was forced out as a result of the ongoing dispute.

In an open letter the following day, Mrs Bond said she had longstanding concerns about “questionable governance practice”.

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