An internal investigation has been running for a few weeks based around the vice-Chancellor of Swansea University. Professor Richard Davies, who has served as vice-Chancellor at Swansea since 2003, has been suspended. There have been a plethora of questions so far. In this article, we try and piece together what we know.
A few days ago it was announced that the vice-Chancellor – Professor Richard Davies, and senior academic Professor Marc Clement – also the Dean of the School of Management, had been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Immediately a range of questions were asked – with many speculating on the cause of the suspensions. The suspensions came as a result of an internal investigation that has been running for the past few weeks. As the investigation continues, both remain suspended – along with two other members of staff from the School of Management. Each staff member is suspended on full pay.
Staff and students were informed of the suspensions by Andrew Rhodes – a registrar at Swansea University. Following the suspensions – Rhodes is now acting vice-Chancellor. Rhodes didn’t give any details regarding the nature of the investigation.
There has been little word from Professor Davies. Professor Clement meanwhile has denied any wrongdoing – going as far to launch a formal grievance against the Registrar.
Members of Swansea University”s Medical School have reportedly thrown their support behind the suspended quartet. Speaking of Davies and Clement, it is suggested the duo have ‘worked tirelessly’ over the years for the benefit of Swansea University.
Swansea University has indeed enjoyed its time under the tenure of Professor Davies – witnessing a surge in academic league table positions, as well as helping regenerate the wider Swansea area. Further projects are in the works too.
But it is believed that one of these projects is the cause of the problem leading to the suspensions. One newspaper this morning suggested the investigation is focused on a member of University staff that ‘accepted shares in a private company involved in plans to build a wellbeing village near Swansea’.
This situation would raise concerns of an inappropriate conflict of interest – where an employee would be in a position to profit from public money that had been invested in the project – despite being part of the decision-making process in allocating money.
The suggestion is that the staff member involved then changed their mind, before suggesting profits from the shares would go towards a trust fund for the village of Llanelli – the town where the wellbeing village would be based.
It is then believed that the registrar at Swansea University saw these emails – thereby leading to an investigation being launched. This entire process is said to have taken place ‘under Professor Davies’s nose’.
The main issue appears to be the use of public money – and how certain people could be standing to profit heavily from certain projects. Conflicts of interest are common issues in business.
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A spokesperson for Swansea University suggested ‘all procedures have been carried out robustly and correctly’ – but failed to elaborate on the current status of the investigation. More news is likely to follow on this story.