COLLEGE FACES INQUIRY

0111029 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy
0111029 SSFF stock asc 'stock photo Kirkcaldy - adam smith college, kirkcaldy

A SCOTTISH Government minister has ordered an inquiry into Adam Smith College.

Mike Russell, the education secretary wants a report from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) following a meeting with David Torrance, MSP.

The Kirkcaldy politician is also asking for an independent investigation into allegations of bullying and intimidation at the college at First Minister’s questions in the Scottish Parliament today (Thursday).

Last night (Wednesday) staff attending an EIS meeting unanimously voted to boycott the principal’s meetings planned for Thursday and Friday.

Instead they will send a union representatives to ask questions on their behalf.

They also plan to present the principal with a statement saying he “lacks the moral authority to lead the college.”

It comes as the latest twist to a story which has included :

l the suspension of two staff

l the departure of the chairman of the Board of Governers

l the resignations of the vice-chairman, secretary and another member

l the launch of an anonymous website “It’s Our College Not Craig’s.”

l an online petition calling for the principal’s resignation

Staff have also taken their grievances direct to Mr Torrance’s office - just yards from the St Brycedale campus.

Dr Craig Thomson, principal, said he welcomed any inquiry - and today (Thursday) plans to start his series of meetings with staff to hear direct from them.

“I am 100 per cent behind my staff,” he said.

“Do not be seduced into thinking there is a major breakdown at Adam Amith College.

Dr Thomson said he would not tolerate bullying of any kind.

But Mr Torrance claimed the college had a long-standing problem.

“Issues of bullying and intimidation of staff at the college have reached a crisis level.”

Mr Torrance says he has been given evidence from staff, past and present who, he said, had experienced “unacceptable levels of intimidation and pressure” from managementt level staff.

His intervention also saw him express support via the website - a move which criticised by the college.

A spokesman said: “We are disappointed his first choice of action was to shout loudly when there is a direct line to the principal - that would have been the responsible behaviour for an elected member.

“The college robustly refutes the accusations and has strict procedures in place to deal with inappropriate behaviour and any official allegations made,” it stated.

Dr. Thomson added: “The allegations made are unfounded and quite ridiculous. In the spirit of open engagement, I feel it’s necessary to meet face-to-face with all staff members to discuss any concerns they may have.”

However Mr Torrance said that if the allegations proved to be true then it would make the principal’s role “untenable.”

“I am here first and foremost to represent my constituents and their concerns,” he said. “I am not here to protect the reputation of Adam Smith.”