I'm still here, insists university principal staff told had retired
SCOTLAND'S longest-serving university principal has denied he has retired - just days after Abertay University announced his departure.
Professor Bernard King, who is currently suspended from his post at the university, yesterday issued a statement in which he categorically denied that he had left.
Prof King, 65, said he had received correspondence from the University Court intimating that he had now retired. But he rejected the claim and declared that he remained in dispute over the terms of an extension of a contract agreed with the university last year.
The new war of words between Prof King and the university authorities has plunged Abertay into fresh turmoil.
Tony Axon, a spokesman for the University and College Union in Scotland, called for the future of the former principal to be clarified for the sake of concerned staff and prospective students.
He said: "We need the management and the future governance of the university sorted out.
"The lack of clarity in general is making staff very uncertain about what is going to happen in the future, and it obviously makes it difficult to recruit students.
"It is difficult to run the university properly with this hanging over people's heads and no-one knowing in which direction to be going."
The saga began in February when Prof King was suspended from his 220,000-a-year post on the orders of the University Court after a dispute over the timing of his departure from office and a struggle for power at the university.
Prof King has lodged papers with an employment tribunal, claiming he was discriminated against because of his age.
He also claims he was victimised for acting as a "whistleblower" by raising complaints on behalf of other staff.
On Friday, Prof King's "retirement" was announced to university staff in an e-mail, apparently circulated in error in advance of staff briefing planned for tomorrow.
But a spokesman for Prof King said: "His position is that he has not retired, and he remains in dispute with the university over the terms of an extension of contract agreed with the university last year. Prof King's solicitors have advised that the current actions of the university are both unfair and unlawful."
A spokesman for Abertay University said last night: "Our position remains that Prof King's retirement took effect on Friday, 1 July."
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