USP Executive Committee meeting was legal: Thompson

June 11, 2020 4:50 pm

University of the South Pacific Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson.

University of the South Pacific Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson says the Executive Committee acted within its powers.

This is in light of the decision it made to suspend Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct.

Thompson stressed that an emergency meeting was called on Monday to deal with certain issues that got out of hand.

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He adds protests at the Laucala Campus were caused by the leak of internal documents, which disrupted internal processes dealing with allegations levelled against the VC.

Thompson explains that during an emergency, the Executive Committee may act on behalf of the USP Council and then report back to the Council.

“The governance instruments under which we operate are clear the Executive Committee has the power under the statues and ordinances of the University to take action in the case that it did on the issues that it took on Monday. For anyone to claim that it is acting illegally is incorrect.”

The Pro-Chancellor went on to say that it he is very concerned that recent statements allege the meeting on Monday was illegal and that he has no authority to call such a meeting.

“Those who are instigating those claims are doing a gross disservice because they should know and if they don’t know they should have made the effort to know what the statement within our governing instruments say and not perpetuate information that is wrong.”

Meanwhile, Thompson says members of the USP Council who have made statements showing that they are not on board with the decision of the Executive Committee do not have all the information to make such comments.

“Of course there will be some members who will be unhappy but I would suggest that this is on the basis of incomplete information. That they need to have all of the information before they can make that sought of comment.”

USP Pro Chancellor Winston Thompson has reiterated that he will only step down from the position if the decision is made by the majority of the USP Council.