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USP refuses to elaborate on HR policies used to appoint Dr Chand

February 19, 2021 8:35 am
Director for Centre of Flexible Learning Dr Rajni Chand.

The University of the South Pacific now says it will not engage publicly on its recruitment processes or policies in respect to individual contracts.

This is despite Acting Vice-Chancellor, Jito Vanualailai, speaking publicly about the appointment of Director for Centre of Flexible Learning, Dr Rajni Chand, on Tuesday.

There are doubts on whether USP did follow its policies and procedures in hiring Dr Chand.

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Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jito Vanualailai earlier told FBC News that everything was above board and procedures were followed according to HR policies, but the university’s policy documents sighted by FBC news indicate otherwise.

Section 2.2.1 of the policy states “all-new or vacant positions which are to be filled for periods in excess of one year must be advertised”.

Dr Chand’s new job is a senior position under a three-year contract.

The same policy then goes on to state “where required, under this policy, new or vacant positions will be advertised externally in the appropriate publications and electronic media.”

Vacancies must be published in local national newspapers, regionally in the Australian and the New Zealand Herald and internationally in The Times UK as well as newspapers in the US, India and South Africa.

It’s worth noting that Section 2.3.2 states in exceptional cases, where a case can be made that a particular person has a strong individual claim for a position, the Faculty may not be required to advertise. The case may be taken directly to the Appointments Committee, upon approval by the Vice-Chancellor.

FBC News attempted to speak to Professor Ahluwalia to ascertain if he had taken this path but he couldn’t be reached.

USP was asked to clarify which sections of the HR policy were used to advertise and appoint Dr Rajni Chand as Director of Flexible Learning.

The University now says staff contracts are matters between an employer and employee and not for public scrutiny, and that all recruitments are on merit in compliance and consistent with policies and procedures.

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