May 28, 2019 News
The University of Guyana Council, at a special meeting held on May 23, determined that Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, C.C.H., should proceed on his terminal leave in accordance with the terms and conditions of his contract with effect from May 28, 2019.
In this regard, the Council directed that Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Engagement, Professor Michael Scott, perform the functions of Vice-Chancellor (acting) for the period May 28, 2019 to June 13, 2019.
This recent development has left the University unions feeling vindicated. The unions – the University of Guyana Workers Union and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association – in a statement indicated as much.
“The University of Guyana Unions feel that their stances have been vindicated with the two important decisions taken by the University’s Council on Thursday 23rd May.”
The other decision to which the unions refer was one in relation to the Vice-Chancellor’s request to be considered for a new contract. The unions disclosed that Council after prolonged debate decided that an evaluation must be done before any decision is made about either award or non-award of the contract.
“We had always noted that the University’s practice is to allow persons to proceed on leave, with exceptions being allowed in certain fairly rare instances. Usually payment in lieu of leave would be done at the University’s request and in keeping with its needs and the availability of funds. The first Council decision of 15th April was therefore entirely proper,” the unions added.
Continuing, the union bodies said, “The round robin fiasco represented an attempt to overturn the correct decision. We are therefore grateful that in the end, Council recognised the error involved in the directive to allow the Vice-Chancellor to be paid and to remain on the job.”
The unions however shared their disappointment that the debacle has cost the University even more.
“We now have to pay the Vice-Chancellor even more than we would have paid if he had proceeded on leave on 13th May. The round robin resulted in the cash-strapped University most likely having to pay over one million dollars to the Vice-Chancellor.”
However, an administrative official, when contacted by this publication, indicated that the amount could be much smaller.
The unions went on to share that “Our principle with regard to the Vice-Chancellor’s contract has been that the award of any new contract should only take place after an evaluation of his performance has been undertaken. We have been advocating for years for the evaluation of the senior members of the administration. To our knowledge, none has ever taken place of the current set of administrators, though we believe new contracts have been awarded to some of them.”
In the interest of accountability, the unions said too that, “the University can learn from the tenure of any senior administrator, this practice should become standard. We are pleased that the University Council has also moved to establish that evaluation should become a routine aspect of any Vice-Chancellor’s tenure”.
But disappointed, the unions said, “We are aware that there are members of Council who do not seem to yet grasp these principles, or if they do, did not seem to want them applied in the case of the Vice-Chancellor.”
Regarding the state of affairs as unfortunate, the unions added, “We shall not cease our relentless advocacy of these principles, and we hope that these members of Council will be able to fully endorse them in the future.”
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