Calls persist for removal of RCVS junior vice-president

Calls persist for removal of RCVS junior vice-president
Belgravia House, headquarters of the RCVS.

A petition entitled ‘Say no to bullying in the veterinary profession’ has been launched on demanding that Professor David Argyle be made to step down from the role of junior vice-president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

The petition follows unsubstantiated allegations of bullying against the professor which first surfaced in a Sunday Times report. A subsequent inquiry found that there was no evidence of misconduct on the part of the professor, dean of the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and that decision was upheld at appeal.

Professor Argyle, who is also head of the Roslin Institute, is due to become president of the RCVS in July next year.

In light of the online petition, the RCVS has now issued a statement in which it says:

‘The allegations were upsetting to read, and bullying has no place in the profession. However, these are allegations and we need to be careful that there is no trial by media here.’

The statement also reiterated the findings of the inquiry held by the University of Edinburgh, which found no evidence of misconduct on the professor’s part.

As of October 27, the petition calling for Professor Argyle’s removal as JVP of the college had attracted the support of 282 signatories.

It reads:

‘Clearly, the issue of workplace bullying within the veterinary profession is complex and there are no quick fixes. In order to stop work-place bullying, we must however ensure that those leading our profession have the full confidence of its members to stand against this important issue, and unfortunately allegations of this magnitude are incompatible with that level of confidence.

‘We urge you in the strongest terms to consider the message that David Argyle’s position as JVP communicates to the members of the RCVS, and to consider whether this is the right time for him to be holding that position.’

When approached for comment by the Vet Times, the professor declined, but Moira Whyte, head of the University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, is quoted describing the impact of the accusations and the inquiry as ‘highly distressing’ and ‘challenging’ for everyone affected.