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Imperial College staff demand senior executives resign after report exposes bullying of colleagues

UNIVERSITY staff at Imperial College demanded today that two of its most senior executives resign after a report found that they had bullied colleagues.

Imperial College president Alice Gast and chief financial officer (CFO) Muir Sanderson apologised for bullying in an email to staff and students ahead of planned protests tomorrow.

But the University and College Union (UCU) has called for their resignations on the grounds of gross misconduct.

Imperial’s UCU branch and the student union at the college have written to university council chairman John Allan, asking to see the report.

The union also called for an independent commission to investigate the “failure of leadership that produced such an outcome and the lack of democratic structures of accountability that prevented the president and CFO from being held properly to account.”

Imperial UCU branch president Michael McGarvey said: “An independent investigation determined that senior members of staff bullied colleagues, but a subsequent disciplinary hearing resulted in them staying in post after apologising for their behaviour.

“This outcome saw the victims leaving the college, undermining the position of staff that remained and perpetuating the climate within senior management that allowed the behaviour to take place. 

“We hear too many stories about inappropriate behaviour being tolerated within our institutions because the perpetrator is a senior member of staff. This sends a terrible message to staff and creates a culture where bullying can thrive. 

“Universities have to lead from the top and create a culture of mutual respect in the workplace.”

Imperial College said the independent investigator made 12 recommendations, half of which have already been implemented.

It said that those pending implementation include a review of the college’s harassment, victimisation and bullying policy, and further training on certain HR processes, such as those around bullying and harassment, for senior managers.

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