Row follows 'colonels' revolt'

15th March 1996 at 00:00
Lecturers at Southampton City College have passed a vote of no confidence in the chairs of the college corporation and employment policy committee following the suspension of principal Dr Patrick Lavery.

The college's branch of the lecturers' union NATFHE claims staff have been left in the dark over the decision by governors, which came after a "colonels' revolt" of senior staff opposed to plans for reform, including management redundancies.

A management team now running the college has refused to speak about an inquiry launched following Dr Lavery's suspension.

Andrew Currie, NATFHE branch secretary, claimed the union had been warned off commenting publicly on the inquiry. He said: "These managers are saying we are all going to pull together for the college but when we ask for even minimal assurances about the future we are denied them. We will not be gagged just because they are not prepared to tell us the issues."

The union fears that if a new principal is sought, the costs involved in a change could further jeopardise the finances of the college, which is already struggling with Pounds 1.2 million debts.

Dr Lavery was appointed three years ago after headhunters were brought in at the college. His suspension has sparked alarm in the Association of Principals of Colleges, which claims chief executives can be too easily driven out by under-trained but powerful governors.

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