UG warns against disruption of classes

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UG Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith

…clears air on vice-chancellor forgoing leave

THE University of Guyana has warned against any disruption of classes as students head into final-examinations mode, even as it cleared the air that Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith’s request to forgo his annualised leave was duly approved by the Council following a vote.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the university quoted Pro-Chancellor, Major General (retd) Joseph Singh, who is also Interim Chairman of the University Council, as urging all members of the university community to “be responsible and ensure that the administration of our final examinations is not disrupted. “I urge that our students, the primary stakeholders, be accorded the highest priority in this season of examinations,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, the university said on April 15, 2019 that it was decided by the Council at a duly-constituted meeting that the vice-chancellor should be formally requested to proceed on leave with effect from May 13, 2019.

However, on May 2, 2019, Professor Griffith wrote to the pro-chancellor, requesting reconsideration of the Council’s decision. According to a release from the university, Professor Griffith cited, among other things, that “extenuating circumstances” oblige him to forgo proceeding on leave, effective from that selected date, and requested to be paid for “30 of the 35 days” due to him.

Following the vice-chancellor’s request, Singh requested a review of the Council’s decision by a round-robin of all members of the Council. The members were asked to indicate their support or otherwise of the vice-chancellor’s request for payment of a portion of his leave entitlement.

“It is my understanding that the round-robin practice has been in place over the years, and has been utilised by Council and other statutory organs of the university. Therefore, it should not be interpreted as a special dispensation for the incumbent vice-chancellor,” Singh stated, according to the release.

In the end, 13 Council members participated in the process, with seven supporting the vice-chancellor’s request; four positing that the matter be deliberated upon at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council; one opposing the vice-chancellor’s request; and one believing that a meeting of the Council should be duly convened. Three members did not participate in the process.

“The vice-chancellor and Council members were duly informed by the Secretary of the Council on May 10 that a clear majority of members had approved his request of May 2, 2019,” the release indicated.

It added that Council members were also informed that the amount of pay in lieu of leave the Vice-Chancellor was entitled to would be based on the advice of the Bursar and Personnel Officer. The Unions have since issued threats of possible industrial action arising out of the round-robin process.