Uni boss accused of assaulting teen resigns

Uni boss accused of assaulting teen resigns

The vice chancellor and CEO of the University of New England has resigned over assault allegations.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Professor Brigid Heywood had been charged with common assault and offensive behaviour near a public place or school.

NSW Police confirmed to news.com.au that they allege the university boss assaulted a 16-year-old girl at a club in the NSW town of Armidale on March 8.

There are reports that she allegedly touched the girl and made comments about her skin colour during an International Women’s Day event, which was the same day the alleged assault took place.

Police said the teenager 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 with a court attendance notice.

The union called for the professor to resign immediately and said if she didn’t, the university would be within their rights to force her to stand down.

Then late on Friday, the university revealed that she had indeed resigned.

In a statement shared with news.com.au, the university confirmed Professor Heywood no longer worked there.

University of England Chancellor James Harris said: “Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Brigid Heywood, has resigned from her position with the University and her resignation has been accepted by Council.”

Mr Harris said that his former colleague thought it would be “in the best interests of the university” for her to step down.

“Given the charges are before the Court, the University Council does not intend to make any comment about the charges or their subject matter,” he added.

“Both Professor Heywood and the University Council acknowledges the deep hurt felt by many on hearing of the charges and thanks the community for the patience shown as we worked through these matters,” Mr Harris continued.

“The University Council wants to clearly state that it remains deeply committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for its students, staff and community at all times.”

That said, the university used the opportunity to acknowledge Professor Heywood’s service to the uni, speaking to her “significant contribution” since starting in the role in July 2019.

Professor Heywood is due in court next month, on September 26.

— With NCA Newswire

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