The College have launched an investigation into who was responsible for changing a crucial HR policy related to bullying, days before allegations of bullying by the President and CFO came to light.
The change, which the College has said admitted were made without customary oversight, had the effect of watering down how severely bullying was regarded. Where the policy once read, that bullying should be treated as “gross misconduct” it was changed to read that “all incidents will be taken seriously”.
When contacted about this, the College said that the policy had been “mistakenly edited and published without approval from the director of HR or due process” and that the original wording would continue to apply. The College also published a further explanation on its website explaining that the change was a result of “clerical error” and that the provost, Ian Walmsley, was leading an investigation into how this occurred.
The change in policy had drawn attention to the fact that despite official policy stating that both the President and CFO are guilty of gross misconduct, both of them have retained their positions while at least two of their victims have left the university.
It has been suggested that the policy revision was intended to provide an ad-hoc defence for President Alice Gast and CFO Muir Sanderson and a way to minimise the severity of their actions. A spokesperson for Imperial, however, has said that they “reject these allegations.”
The Imperial branch of the University and College Union called this week for the resignation of Gast and Sanderson for gross misconduct, with the union citing the college’s own statutes.