Plymouth University Are Having a Nightmare
“Sometimes, when you don’t watch a soap for a few months, it’s difficult to catch up. Here’s what’s been going on with Plymouth University since students were last here.”
That is the opening to a satirical video published last week by students from the Plymouth College of Art about their neighbours, Plymouth University. Created following a series of scandals surrounding the management of Plymouth uni, the video fills students in with what it refers to as an episode of Jeremy Kyle.
The news: This summer, Plymouth Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Wendy Purcell, was suspended with pay but without comment from the university.
The scandal: Her dismissal seemed to coincide with harassment allegations she made against William Taylor, Plymouth University’s chairman, which were backed up by a number of female staff and students.
Amid a sea of media attention surrounding Plymouth’s money problems, Barbara Bond (former Pro-Chancellor) is resolute.
“The bottom line is that Bill needs to stand down. The university is being destabilised.” She wrote in a series of emails to the Deputy Chairman about the feud between Mr. Taylor and Prof. Purcell. The BBC learned that allegations against William Taylor are extensive.
A senior member of staff at Plymouth University said he was “a person who was very comfortable abusing his power”
“He was very comfortable demeaning me… He was very comfortable making statements that were insinuating sexual commentary.” She added, “[He] wasn’t a person who was respecting the work that I did at the university. It was a person who decided he wanted to have titillating conversations and didn’t care that I was uncomfortable, didn’t care that it was unprofessional.”
However the creators of UniScrounger were more concerned with the financial implications of Professor Purcell’s suspension, who is still earning £288k a year.
It claims Plymouth University is wasting “scandalous amounts of money… in an age of austerity.”
Which includes Professor Purcell’s & William Taylor’s salaries, as well as the cost of an independent senior barrister who was brought in to assess the situation.
It’s since emerged that Wendy Purcell was also responsible for the commissioning of 7 ceremonial chairs which cost the university £95,000.
On top of that, despite being suspended, she also attended a recent Times Higher Education conference in Miami which, in total, cost the university a further £24,000.
As Plymouth University claims that business carries on as usual, students are left to wonder ‘why are our tuition fees paying for this?’
Finally the narrator of UniScrounger offers a simple solution: “These uni shambles must result in a serious clean-up of top management… You’re no longer needed.”