RCVS statement concerning allegations of bullying at the University of Edinburgh
28 October 2020
We are aware of concerns recently reported in the media regarding our Junior Vice-President, Professor Argyle, and the allegations of bullying at his workplace, the University of Edinburgh.
We know that the University of Edinburgh takes any such accusations extremely seriously and that its inquiry fully and robustly investigated the claims in 2019. This inquiry found no evidence of misconduct, a decision that was later upheld after an appeal.
We have a no-tolerance approach to bullying, and we are pleased that the university inquiry found no issues to be addressed.
We understand that the Intersol report referred to in the media recently was not from a formal inquiry, but was the report of a review commissioned jointly by the University of Edinburgh and the University and Colleges Union (UCU) to offer ‘safe space’ conversations with those who felt they had been bullied in order to bring the vet school community together.
We recognise the massive impact that bullying can have on anyone who has been subject to it and the recently published individual accounts were upsetting to read. We are also mindful of the huge amount of stress that can be caused by ‘trial by media’, especially when an inquiry has concluded that there were no issues to be found.
In this case, any discussion around the role of RCVS Junior Vice-President is a matter for RCVS Council, as the postholder is elected by that group. Professor Argyle will be making a statement to Council at its next scheduled meeting on 5 November 2020. Thereafter, Council will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have, and to consider this matter further.
Meanwhile, we are aware that the UCU has made a recent statement about this matter and we have formally requested a copy of it. We have also asked Vet Record whether any of the people who have provided the anonymised testimonials would like to supply their information to us directly.