University v-chancellor resigns, to defend charges

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University v-chancellor resigns, to defend charges

The vice-chancellor and chief executive of an Australian university has resigned but will defend charges against her, according to her former employer.

Brigid Heywood, who had been with the University of New England, based in Armidale in regional New South Wales, for three years before she was charged on Monday.

In March, police said Professor Heywood assaulted a 16-year-old girl at a licensed venue in Armidale and that the teenager was not physically injured.

Professor Heywood has also been charged with behaving in an offensive manner near a public place or school, in addition to one charge of common assault.

In a statement, the University of New England chancellor James Harris said Professor Heywood denied there was any truth to the charges and will defend them. The National Tertiary Education Union had called for Professor Heywood to stand down while the matter was before the court.

Professor Heywood and the University Council acknowledge the deep hurt felt by many on the hearing of the charges and thanks the community for the patience shown as we worked through these matters, Mr Harris said in his statement.

The University Council is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment for its students, staff and community at all times. Heywood will appear in a court in Armidale on September 26.