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Council clears USP boss

June 08
11:04 2013

By FARISHA AHMED

The University of the South Pacific Council has dismissed a petition alleging abuse and corruption of authority against the university’s vice-chancellor and president Professor Rajesh Chandra.
Pro-chancellor and chair of the USP Council, Ikbal Jannif, has issued a statement in response to the petition and the allegations were dismissed at its 76th meeting in Nukualofa, Tonga last month.
A group calling itself the IE Devoted for Justice has been widely circulating the petition, dated March 26, 2013, to staff, students, and members of the USP Council.
The statement was also circulated to the pro- chancellor himself in April, defaming the vice-chancellor and the university.
“The petition appears to be significantly the same as an earlier petition presented to the former pro-chancellor in September 2011, and which had been dealt with by the executive committee and reported to the council,” Mr Janiff said.
“The executive committee followed due process under the 2009 ordinance dealing with the discipline of academic and comparable staff, Section 12, and concluded that the allegations were unfounded and dismissed the petition,” he said.
The executive committee and the council expressed their full confidence in the leadership of the vice-chancellor and president.
Former pro-chancellor Honourable Fiame Mata’afa had issued a statement to the university community on November 4, 2011, explaining the decision of the executive committee and the council and reiterated that the council had “expressed its full confidence in the vice-chancellor.
“The matter had been fully and fairly dealt with under the university’s laws. The university community needs to come together to protect the integrity and good name of the university,” Ms Mata’afa said.
“The decision of the university is to be respected and the matter is now closed,” she said.
Despite this, the group has continued to send various versions of the petition at different times.
They disregarded the decision of both the executive committee and the council and the statement of the former pro-chancellor and chair of council of the university.
The vice-chancellor had responded to one allegation that appeared to be new and the
Pro-chancellor had accepted his explanation.
This was circulated to the members of the executive committee for their comments and the members agreed that the vice-chancellor had acted within his powers.
The pro-chancellor had written to the designated person in the petition and advised that the university respected the right of stakeholders to raise genuine concerns and grievances in the appropriate manner.
However, the university and the vice-chancellor reserved their rights to take legal action to protect the integrity and reputation of the university and its officers from the improper publication and circulation of defamatory material.

University of South Pacific vice-chancellor Rajesh Chandra (left), yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR

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