The union at Egham's Royal Holloway College has attacked as 'neither justified or reasonable' the suspension of its equalities and diversity officer.

The Royal Holloway College University of London is understood to have suspended Professor Jeff Frank, who used to be chairman of the college branch of the University and College Union.

The union is particularly concerned that his suspension will leave a large gap because of his expertise in offering diversity support to disabled, female, gay or transgender employees.

The union's regional official Greg Barnett said: "UCU has made it clear to the university that Mr Frank’s suspension is neither justified or reasonable. The allegations relate to his work as a union rep, and the university’s actions are deeply unhelpful for local employment relations. We are supporting Mr Frank in challenging this decision."

The college itself is not commenting on the reasons behind the suspension.

A spokesman said: "This is a matter between the university and the individual and we would therefore not comment on such matters.”

The union says it has created a legal fund for the professor following his suspension.