USP has been hijacked, says incoming Chancellor and Nauru President

Nauru’s President and incoming Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Lionel Aingimea says the institution has been hijacked.

Mr Aingimea has also declared that he will immediately seek the support of Council colleagues to call a special Council meeting as a matter of urgency.

Calling yesterday’s decision to stand down Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia “a sad day in the history of this esteemed institution,” Mr Aingimea said, “the very individuals responsible for carrying out good governance have failed this great university.

“The disciplinary ordinance for dealing with the Vice Chancellor has been violated. There are processes and procedures which dictate how such matters should be dealt with but these have simply been ignored.

“Due process requires that any investigation or action against the Vice Chancellor must be sanctioned by Council when the allegations have been brought to its attention,” he said.

“This did not happen and we are in this current crisis because of failed governance.”

President Aingimea, who is a Council member and USP alumnus, is due to take up his post on July 1, and said the USP is a regional university owned by 12 member countries and must remain so.

“The region must not allow USP to become another national university. All member countries must have a say in its future.”

He revealed that he twice wrote to the full Council pointing out the need for caution and a considered response to allegations levelled against the Vice Chancellor, but said instead, “I have witnessed the vilification and lack of natural justice being accorded to the Vice Chancellor.”

The Executive Committee of the USP Council met in Suva Monday and resolved that Professor Ahluwalia be suspended from duties on pay and that an independent investigation be conducted into the allegations against Professor Ahluwalia.

Professor Derrick Armstrong has been appointed to act as Vice Chancellor and President until the outcome of the investigation is determined.


Photo file USP Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji