THE Principal of one of Scotland's top universities has been suspended from office, it has emerged.

Professor Andrew Atherton, Principal & Vice-Chancellor at Dundee University, was removed from his £300,000 post last month while an "internal process" was carried out. 

The nature of his suspension has not been revealed, and the situation has been clouded in secrecy by University authorities. 

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An email leaked to the media says that Professor Atherton, a fluent mandarin speaker who has only been in the job since January this year, was suspended on September 13. 

The email states: "It will be reported in the local press tomorrow (Thursday 31 October) that the Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Atherton, has been suspended from office.

"I can confirm that the Principal has been suspended since 13 September, pending an internal process which remains to be completed. 

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"In the interests of fairness and natural justice, and as in all cases of this kind, it would not be appropriate for the University to comment on this matter while due process is ongoing."

It adds: "The University Executive Group has, throughout this period, been managing the University’s affairs and will continue to do so."

Professor Atherton was formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lancaster University.

A spokesman for the Universoty said: "Professor Atherton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, was suspended from office on September 13, pending an investigation which remains to be completed.

"That process includes an investigation carried out by someone external to the University.

"As is our policy in any disciplinary case, it would not be appropriate for the University to comment further while the process is ongoing."