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Wendy Purcell given vote of no confidence by Plymouth University staff

31 October 2014

The suspended vice-chancellor of Plymouth University has received an overwhelming vote of no confidence from staff at the institution.

In a ballot of UCU members, 95% who voted backed a motion* that said staff had no confidence in Wendy Purcell as vice-chancellor. The union said the recent problems at the university had undermined morale and risked doing long-term damage to the institution.

Wendy Purcell was suspended earlier this year. Since then there has been a spate of stories in the press about expenses scandals, foreign jollies, lavish spending and bitter rifts at a senior level.

UCU members called the vote of no confidence after Purcell's lawyers took the exceptional step of going on record to say that Purcell was well respected among staff and students.

In the most recent staff survey the proportion of staff who said they did not think the university senior leadership team "listens to and responds to the views of staff" rose from 33% in 2010 to 47% in 2013. Over the same period, the proportion of staff thinking "changes have been well communicated and explained" fell from 60% to 38%.

UCU regional official, Philippa Davey, said: 'We fear that the continuing soap opera at the university could do real damage to the institution's reputation.

'This vote shows that academic staff have no faith in the leadership and decision-making of Wendy Purcell. The time has come for a new culture of accountability, transparency and openness at Plymouth.'

* Members of UCU at Plymouth University voted online between 22 and 28 October on the whether or not they agreed with the motion "We have no confidence in Wendy Purcell as vice-chancellor of Plymouth".

Last updated: 10 December 2015