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USP Saga: Proposals In Bid To Amend University’s Existing Ordinance

The Working Group include country representatives from Australia, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and New Zealand.
07 Jul 2020 11:56
USP Saga: Proposals In Bid To Amend University’s Existing Ordinance

More has emerged about the bid to amend the existing Ordinance that Governs the Discipline of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific at last Friday’s meeting.

This was made through a Working Group of the USP Council.

The Working Group include country representatives from Australia, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and New Zealand.

The Group had three meetings before last Friday’s council meeting – where most connected via Zoom.

The Group was of the view that the university governance concern was centred around the issue of conflict of interest.

Position papers were presented before the council for consideration by Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.

Tonga said that there was a need to amend the Ordinance to cater for situations where there was a conflict of interest.

In its paper, Tuvalu proposed the following:

To avoid allegations that the USP Council Special Meeting has revised the Ordinance to meet or match the current circumstances in which the Council and the university find itself, investigations into the Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia should be, in as much as possible, conducted in accordance with the Ordinance.

The Council overturned the suspension of the VC because it said due process was not followed. It was therefore important that the Council now provides clear guidelines on how the investigation against the VC should be conducted under the existing Ordinance.

In its recommendation, Tuvalu highlighted the following:

Given that the suspension of the Vice-Chancellor has been overturned because due process was not followed by the Executive Committee in determining his suspension, for allegations against the VC to be responsibly considered, they will have to be re-lodged.

It is recommended that, when allegations are re-lodged, they be submitted directly to a newly appointed Executive Committee (or to the Pro-Chancellor and Deputy Chair, who will then recuse themselves and turn the investigation over to the Executive Committee).

This Executive Committee can either consist of members of the current Committee who are deemed not to have a conflict in this case with the addition of new members or can be wholly reconstituted so as to not include any members who were part of the decision to suspend the VC.

Further, in the case that members of the current Committee who are not the Pro-Chancellor, VC, or Deputy Chair and who are region-appointed members are considered to have a conflict of interest, the countries from which the members hail can nominate another member from that country to take their place.

The Council is now in recess and will reconvene on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 9.30 am.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: ilaijia.ravuwai@fijisun.com.fj



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