A high-profile dirty tricks campaign is underway at a controversial Welsh university where the man in charge and the Dean of one of his schools have been suspended while a major investigation is launched, The Eye can reveal.
Now it has emerged that staff at the school have been sent one scurrilous email signed “A friend”, another calling for justice for Professor Clement as well as his colleagues, and a further last night from “A friend and alumni of Swansea University” backing Professor Davies.
The first ‘friend’ email says that the controversial Pro Vice-Chancellor at Swansea University, Hilary Lappin-Scott, who is tipped to take over as VC, does “wonderful work”.
The email trashes the reputation of another senior official who is also being suggested as a long-term replacement for Professor Davies as VC, the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Rhodes, who is conducting the top-level investigation, although it does not name him.
The ‘friend’ adds: “… the wonderful work of Professor Hillary (sic) Lappin-Scott and its global recognition (has) been negated by (recent) events”.
He or she ‘tells’ staff at the School of Management that the university was due to receive an important award but lost it due to the suspensions and press coverage.
Further emails can be expected because it finishes: “I will try to continue to keep you informed with truth”.
The other email circulating to staff in the School of Management calling for justice for Professor Clement as well as the others, promotes Professor Lappin-Scott as the next VC.
A further internal email last night allegedly from “A friend and alumni of Swansea University” gives strong support to Professor Davies as well as other senior officials, and asks for an anonymous vote to back him.
This email addressed to “Dear Swansea University staff” states: “Richard B. Davies is a man who has led your university with distinction, dignity and achieved so much. Without him and his leadership team there would be no Bay Campus, no Welsh University of the year awards, no top-30 ranking”.
It continues: “We hear the accusation(s) against Richard B. Davies are trivial, and an
immediate reinstatement until the end of his term is what we owe him”.
But the emails have come under fire from many in Swansea University.
These tactics were accused of being underhand, and have emerged as the academic world and beyond are still shocked by the suspensions.
The Eye had reported (incorrectly) the extraordinary disciplinary actions against Professors Davies and Clement, may have been connected with our revelations the university employed a crook called Steve Chan at its management school.
Chan had been jailed for four years by a court in Boston after a huge fraud, which was followed by three years of supervised release, and he was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.
Yet Chan had been employed on a contract at the university’s management school.
But we showed how in fact the suspensions were linked to an investigation into alleged improprieties at the Wellness and Life Science Village in Carmarthenshire.
The scheme at Llanelli has been described by its backers as the “largest ever regeneration project in South West Wales”, and had laudable aims – to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the area, as well as creating 2,000 high-quality jobs and boosting the economy by £467m over 15 years, but it has been beset by controversy from the start.
Swansea University has combined with Sterling Health Security Holdings to raise a huge amount of money for the project.
Sterling Health is registered in London, and its directors include Franz Hermann Dickmann, as well as the former leader of Carmarthenshire County Council Meryl Gravell.
We lodged a series of questions through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Swansea University, but the information was refused on the grounds the request was “vexatious”.
Four of the questions we asked in the FOIA were:
- What was the exact date that Professor Steve Chan of the School of Management registered for his Ph.D at Swansea University?
- What was the exact date that he undertook his viva voce examination for his Ph.D?
- Who were the members of his Ph.D viva committee (including external examiners)?
- Who approved the appointment of the supervisors for his Ph.D?
The issues about Chan as well as the ‘Wellness Village’ project, prompted serious questions about the judgements of Professors Clement and Davies.
The internal message last week informing staff of their suspension in Welsh and English to staff from Mr Rhodes, said: “The Vice-Chancellor has been suspended while (an) investigation is ongoing, as have the Dean of the School of Management and two other members of staff at the School”.
This was a straight down the middle email to staff, unlike the ones from ‘A friend’…
Also on our website – why news of job cuts at another Welsh university was first on The Eye then covered days later by the mainstream media.
Tomorrow the lies of a crooked Welsh property ‘expert’ exclusively exposed by us, who had his legs broken when a drug deal soured, and now wrongly claims legal action is underway and a story about him on The Eye has been removed – https://the-eye.wales/bar-fly/