No classes from Friday onwards
By IAN M. KAUKUI
STAFF at Solomon Islands National University (SINU) last night insisted they will withdraw their services to the university starting tomorrow.
That decision was confirmed during an urgent meeting they held at Kukum campus late yesterday evening.
“….yes we’ve reached a decision,” a spokesman told the Solomon Star last night.
“We’ve resolved our services to SINU will be withdrawn as of Friday 3 July 2020,” the spokesman added.
Earlier, the staff, led by their two associations –Lecturers Association and General Staff Association – demanded the removal of the vice-chancellor Dr. Ganesh Chand from Fiji.
They accused Chand of financial mismanagement and abuse of procurement and recruitment processes.
In their letter of demand, in which they highlighted those allegations, they gave SINU council chair Dr Culwick Togamana seven days to act on their demand.
Failure, they said, would result in the withdrawal of their services to the university.
Togamana this week wrote to the staff to tell them that he had given Chand, who is currently in Fiji, the chance to reply to the allegations.
But during their meeting yesterday, the staff insisted they will not be turning up for work on Friday.
Instead, they will assemble at the Kukum campus field on Friday morning to show their solidarity and stand behind their demand for Chand to be removed.
“We will continue to maintain our solidarity until the vice-chancellor is terminated,” the spokesman said.
“We are also prepared to challenge any decision should the issue end up in court, or should the chair to the council insists to retain the vice-chancellor,” he added.
The spokesman said students will be informed today of the indefinite suspension of classes and other essential services.
“Only the students’ mess will open, while security services will still be provided on campuses.
“We wish to reiterate that SINU must be protected from individual interest and all actions taken must be treated with care and due diligence during this period as the university is the pride of our nation.”
On Monday, Togamana wrote to the two associations that the SINU council may not recognise them because they were unregistered.
Today, the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Union (SICTU) will meet over the SINU dispute.
The staff has accused the vice-chancellor of:
- Financial mismanagement and abuse of procurement processes
- Influencing payment of consultants with incomplete work
- Recruiting his own relatives/wantoks to positions that could be filled locally
- Copy and paste of Fiji National University policies
- Spying of emails of staff
- Abuse of recruitment/conflict of interest
Details of these allegations have been compiled and sent to the chair of the SINU Council Togamana.