Adam Smith College principal suspended

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ADAM Smith College’s principal, Dr Craig Thomson, has been suspended.

The decision was taken on Tuesday as independent investigators wound-up their probe into the running of the college.

Dr Thomson was suspended with immediate effect pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry.

He has been on leave of absence for the past four weeks.

The decision to suspend him was taken by Mark Goldsmith, the new chairman of the Board of Governors.

The Press understands board members were informed on Tuesday evening, and staff told on Wednesday.

The Board was also scheduled to meet yesterday (Wednesday) tea-time.

A spokesman for the college said: ‘‘A decision has been made by the chairman of the Board of Governors to suspend, with immediate effect, the principal, Dr Craig Thomson, pending the outcome of a disciplinary enquiry.‘‘

Ian Harrington, vice-principal, is set to take the helm along with the rest of the senior management team.

The spokesman added: ‘‘They are committed to ensuring that the interests of students and staff are paramount and that disruption to the normal work of the college during this period is kept to an absolute minimum.’’

The team sent in by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to look at the running of the college will conclude its investigations tomorrow (Friday).

They have been on campus for the past four weeks, during which time Dr Thomson and three executive directors - his wife Linda, plus Sandra Rhodes and Christine Sinclair - have all been away from their desks, having decided to each take a leave of absence during the investigation.

It is unclear if they will now return. The college declined to discuss any individuals, citing employee confidentiality.

The Press understands that a large number of staff have come forward to speak to the investigators - some sources have put the figure as high as 200.

One said: ‘‘Stage one was effectively a temperature check and a chance to get a sense of the scale of the issues. Now they are gethering specific information - and a lot of people have come forward.’’

The investigation was launched in February after serious allegations were made that a culture of bullying had been allowed to operate on campus - claims strenuously denied by Dr Thomson.

A report is expected to go in front of Mike Russell, education secretary - possibly as early as next week.

The Press understands there is a strong desire to have the probe wrapped up before the Spring break next month.

David Torrance, MSP, who has led calls for the inquiry, said: ‘‘I hope this is resolved quickly so the college can move forward.’’