Bourne left with damaged credibility
I refer to some of the judgements in the letter of resignation of Dr. Compton Bourne as Chancellor of the University. It is ironic that Dr. Bourne should make those sentiments.
To expose his shortcomings as Chancellor, I need to quote from his resignation statement; “I had hoped that by brining the perspectives of modern university governance, performance requirements, performance standards, financial management, and standards of collegial behaviour to deliberations of Council and the wider university community, I would be making a positive development to the university’s contribution.”
Bourne himself was a non-performer when it came to these ideals. No student body and academic community in any self-respecting university would have tolerated Bourne’s style of administration as its Chancellor.
The Government’s representatives on the Council would not have behaved in the loutish manner under former Chancellor, Dr. Bertie Ramcharran as they did under Bourne. The reason for that was Ramcharran was not politically aligned.
He didn’t need favours from the Government so he dealt professionally with Governmental representatives on the Council
Bourne was seen as being part of a political process so PPP Council members took excessive liberties with him, and he was not uncomfortable in accommodating their unbecoming behaviour. Under Bourne’s watch some of the most egregious violations in the history of the University occurred. There was the Evan Persaud sex scandal in which Bourne’s approved of the names of the disciplinary committee even though he was told that those names were involved in a conflict of interest.
Never in the history of the University, four long serving lecturers had their contracts terminated without any kind of complaint coming from any section of the University. Council only dismisses or terminates when reports come before it for decisions.
Bourne allowed a lecturer accused of sexual misconduct to have a hearing but presided over a Council meeting to terminate the contracts of four lecturers without even giving them a chance to inquire why they were being asked to leave.
Under Bourne’s tenure the Council became a fish market. Government councilors had no respect for him. My last Council meeting at UG was tragic and sad and Bourne looked unmoved at what was going on. It was October 2011, and five Council members came in waving pieces of papers in front of the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Carrington.
They had the names of certain lecturers these particular Councilors wanted to be dismissed. The conduct was unbelievably fish-market like. The representative from the Ministry of Education demanded Carrington sign the dismissal order immediately and said that he would repeat that demand ad infinitum.
He could not pronounce the Latin phrase “Ad infinitum.” I got up and told him it was shameless that he represented the Education Ministry and cannot pronounce words that he chose to use. Bourne ruled me out of order. Once you replied to PPP Councilors you were ruled out of order.
Bourne conducted UG business as if he himself was a Government Councilor. It is truly incredible that given what Bourne said in his resignation letter, he agreed to the termination of the contracts of four long standing lecturers without one word of complaint from any section of the University community. Yet this man could refer to positive contribution he wanted to make.
Bourne came and met a divided university and instead of working towards healing jumped into the fray and took sides.
His conduct of UG business was at all times, in my opinion, unprofessional. In the end the three major stakeholders –students, academics and non academic staff – demanded his removal. He tried to save face by resigning but his credibility is already damaged