The university’s vice president and chief executive officer of the University of New England has resigned over allegations of assault.
Earlier this week, it emerged that Professor Brigid Heywood is accused of public assault and aggressive behavior near a public place or school.
NSW Police have confirmed to news.com.au that they allege that the university’s president assaulted a 16-year-old girl at a club in Armidale, NSW, on 8 March.
There are reports that she touched the girl and made comments about her skin color during International Women’s Day, the same day the alleged assault took place.
Police said the young man was not physically injured during the alleged incident.
A week after the alleged assault, the incident was reported to police, and on Monday, Professor Heywood, 65, was issued a summons to appear.
The union called for the professor to resign immediately and said that if she didn’t, the university would have the right to force her to step down.
Then late Friday, the university revealed that she had already resigned.
In a joint statement with news.com.au, the university confirmed that Professor Heywood is no longer working there.
James Harris, Chancellor of the University of England, said: “The University’s Vice-Chancellor and Executive Director, Professor Brigid Heywood, has resigned from her position at the University and the Board has accepted her resignation.”
Mr Harris said his former colleague believed it would be “in the university’s interests” for her to step down.
“Given the charges before the court, the League Council does not intend to make any comment on the charges or their subject matter,” he added.
“Professor Heywood and the University Council both acknowledge the profound pain many felt upon hearing the charges against them and thank the community for the patience we have shown as we work through these matters,” continued Mr. Harris.
“The University Council wants to make it clear that it remains deeply committed to promoting a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for its students, staff and community at all times.”
However, the university took the opportunity to acknowledge Professor Heywood’s service to the university, and spoke of her “important contribution” since she began the position in July 2019.
Professor Heywood is due to appear in court next month on September 26.
– With NCA Newswire