The Education Secretary has urged a senior college official to "consider his position" after a private conversation between them was secretly recorded.
Mike Russell "no longer has confidence" in Kirk Ramsay, chairman of Stow College in Glasgow, after their discussions about controversial college sector reforms were made public.
Mr Russell has issued a letter to others who were in attendance at the meeting expressing his concerns and informing them that their comments were recorded.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The Education Secretary's letter makes the position plain.
"Making and distributing a secret and surreptitious recording of a confidential meeting is inconsistent with the behaviour expected of the chair of a publicly-funded college. As a result, Mr Russell no longer has confidence in Mr Ramsay. At their meeting on Wednesday he suggested Mr Ramsay should consider his position in the light of that fact but made it clear he had no power to force his resignation."
Scotland's colleges face "considerable financial pressures" in the years ahead, according to a report released last month by the public spending watchdog. Audit Scotland said the planned structural reforms of the college sector may create cost pressures.
Mr Ramsay told The Herald newspaper that he had distributed the recording to a small number of people directly involved in the implementation of college reforms.
He said: "I am extremely disappointed that Mr Russell has used his position to seek to exert such control, influence and power both privately, but also so publicly. I find his comments about me disturbing given the foregoing. It is regrettable that he has chosen to seek my removal in such a fashion, particularly given the difficult period of change we are all experiencing."
Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Mr Russell is exploiting this honest error for his own political ends. He is infuriated that someone has had the temerity to ask questions about the Scottish Government's reforms and now wants to remove them from their position by any means.
"Mike Russell has treated many people within the college sector with contempt and in an aggressive manner. These are public servants who deserve a little more respect from the Education Secretary. The Education Secretary should calm down, accept the apology for an honest mistake and withdraw his demands for a resignation."