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University of New England vice president resigns over assault charges | Australian News

The Vice Chancellor of the University of New England resigned after being charged with assault for wiping saliva off a schoolgirl’s face while commenting on her skin color at an International Women’s Day event.

Brigid Heywood, who has led the university since 2019, has been charged with general assault and aggressive behavior in or near a public place over an incident at a club in Armidale in March.

Heywood was at the club to speak at a panel marking International Women’s Day, and was accused by the schoolgirl’s family of rubbing saliva on her forehead.

UNU Executive Director James Harris confirmed in a statement Friday evening that the university council had accepted Heywood’s resignation.

“The University Council and Professor Heywood acknowledge the criminal charges brought against her … and acknowledge the widespread attention and concern this has garnered within the university and the wider community,” he said. .

Harris said Heywood formed the view that it was in the community’s “best interest” to resign, but she continued to “fiercely deny” the truth of the allegations. He said he would not comment on the accusations while in court.

“Both Professor Heywood and the University Council acknowledge the deep hurt many felt upon hearing the accusations,” he said.[The] The Council would like to make clear that it remains committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and respectful environment. ”

Harris acknowledged Heywood’s “significant contributions” to the university since her July 2019 term, including her “strong leadership” on the challenges of the pandemic.

The girl’s father told the Sydney Morning Herald that the university council “needs to be put in place. The public needs to know how UNE is holding back.” ” the girl’s father told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“For five months, my daughter had no worries,” he said.

He said his daughter had become “withdrawn” since the incident.

“A girl was allegedly assaulted at an event held at a club in Armidale on Tuesday 8 March 2022,” New South Wales Police said.

“After an extensive investigation, officers affiliated with the New England Police District have accused a 65-year-old woman of being accused of general assault and aggressive behavior (sic) in public places/near schools. has issued a notice of court attendance.”

Damian Cahill, secretary of the National Territory Education Union NSW chapter, said the union was “shocked” by the accusations.

As vice president, Heywood served on the university’s council and president, earning an annual salary of $676,000.

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Adam Marshall, MP for the Northern Highlands, whose voters include Armidale, home of the university, called on Heywood to resign pending the completion of the court proceedings.

“The New England College Council, as the employer of the vice-chancellor, has the power and authority to dismiss the vice-chancellor, and as someone who has always proudly supported and defended the university, I urge the council to act swiftly. I beg you, this way,’ he said.

Heywood is scheduled to appear in Armidale District Court on September 26.

University of New England vice president resigns over assault charges | Australian News

Source link University of New England vice president resigns over assault charges | Australian News

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