UG bodies insist Bourne must go
The University of Guyana Senior Staff Association (UGSSA) and the University of Guyana Workers’ Union (UGWU) are adamant that Professor Compton Bourne must be relieved of his duties as Chancellor of the University.
The Unions, yesterday, in a press release denounced moves by some members of the University’s academic board for refusing to accept Bourne’s resignation. “We… stand by our position that Prof. Bourne has failed to be an effective Chancellor notwithstanding his many credentials.”
It was pointed out that the immediate cause of the recent industrial crisis were several unconstitutional decisions made by the Council over which Bourne presided.
“Moreover, he (Bourne) has admitted to not having the temperament to redress the very situation which the Council under his administration precipitated,” the bodies stated.
It was stressed that members of the Academic Board did not vote on the matter, but the decision was made when many members had left the meetings. The release stated that the matter was raised by a member and the UGSSA President responded. But it was raised again under ‘Any Other Business’ by another member when many members had left the meeting.
It was noted, “The statement signed by Dr. Marlene Cox, Acting Vice Chancellor, which conveyed the presumed sentiments of Academic Board members, makes an extraordinary admission which when examined, clearly highlights the bankrupt nature of the governance at the University of Guyana.”
“The University’s administration touts as a part of its catalogue of Prof. Bourne’s contribution, his attendance at meetings and functions. Incredibly, this routine function, which has clearly become the raison d’etre for some of these campus officials, is interpreted as indicative of effective leadership,” the release stated.
However, the bodies do not find the position of the senior administrative group surprising. It was stressed that admission of Bourne’s failure may indict many of them as well.
“Several in this senior administrative group have been at the helm of the University overseeing its decline while rotating positions among themselves during the past 10-15 years.
Moreover, if any group is out of touch with the academic staff, it is this senior administrative group at the University. This is a group that has traditionally handsomely rewarded itself, notwithstanding the fact that many among them come equipped with less academic credentials than that demanded of faculty while ignoring the needs of academics and other staff.”
It was noted that successive reports into the University indicate that there is a significant problematic gap between the salaries paid to the administrative staff as against the academic staff.
The Unions stated that they now publicly articulate in an equally forceful manner on “the immediate signature of the World Bank loan by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, in light of the October deadline so that the science and technology faculties could receive the upgrade they so urgently need.”
During a telephone interview several days ago, Dr. Singh said that the programme was “still on” but he could not recall how much money has been released as yet.
“The new Council, yet to be appointed, reviews and corrects the decisions and actions that have infringed on the academic liberties within the University including the firing of academic staff without a hearing or recourse; the immediate enhancement in the deplorable conditions on the campus and the provision of adequate teaching materials for effective instruction; and an urgent inquiry into the financing of the university to move it from the current precarious condition to ensure among other things that staff are paid on time and their tax and NIS contributions remitted faithfully and finally.”