MP calls for principal to quit

17th July 1998 at 01:00
MATTHEW Taylor, Liberal Democrat MP for Truro and St Austell, has written to Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett and the governing body of St Austell College calling for principal William Hill to resign after his staff passed a vote of no confidence in him.

Mr Hill has said that he is determined to stay in office, even though members of the college voted in a secret ballot for him to quit.

The loss of confidence in Mr Hill follows criticism of the college's investigation into allegations that one of its lecturers had sexually assaulted a colleague. The case cost the college Pounds 300,000.

Concern over the college's handling of the case prompted the Department for Education and Employment to commission Professor Howard Newby, vice-chancellor of Southampton University, to investigate. He found serious flaws in the college's three-year inquiry.

Mr Taylor said: "The report found serious issues of mismanagement and a serious breach of natural justice as a result of decisions taken by the principal.

"While the principal may have acted with the best of intentions, I believe that in the circumstances, especially given the clear concern of staff, it would be best for the future of the college if the principal goes."

Mr Hill said: "We shall endeavour to help our MPs see that there is another side to the issues being put to them by some of their constituents so that they can reach a balanced view ... I personally do not intend to do other than continue to give St Austell College the strong management it needs and to focus on moving forward, as Professor Newby himself urges us to do."

Two members of the Further Education Funding Council were due to visit St Austell College today to discuss the recommendations of the Newby report.

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