University of New England vice chancellor resigns after assault allegation

University of New England’s vice chancellor Brigid Heywood has resigned after being accused of assaulting a teenage girl.

Heywood has been charged with common assault and offensive behavior following an incident at an event at Armidale’s Ex Services Memorial Club in March.

It has been alleged Heywood assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the event.

University of New England's vice-chancellor Brigid Heywood
University of New England’s vice chancellor Brigid Heywood has resigned. (Rhett Wyman)

The family of the teenager have said Heywood touched the girl and commented on her skin color at an International Women’s Day event.

Police confirmed to 9news.com.au that a 65-year-old woman had been charged and said the girl was not physically injured.

UNE Chancellor James Harris released a statement on Friday confirming Heywood had resigned from her position at the university.

“The University Council and Professor Heywood acknowledge the criminal charges laid against her on 1 August 2022, and the widespread attention and concern this has garnered within the University and the broader community,” Harris said.

“In this context, Professor Heywood formed the view that it was in the best interests of the University that she resigned from her position and University Council has accepted her decision.

“Given the charges are before the Court, the University Council does not intend to make any comment about the charges or their subject matter.

“However, both Professor Heywood and the University Council acknowledge the deep hurt felt by many on hearing of the charges, and thank the community for the patience shown as we worked through these matters.”

The statement also said Heywood “strenuously denies” the claims.

Harris acknowledged Heywood’s contributions to the university during her tenure.

Heywood will face court next month.

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