Uni council reappoints Prof Pal as vice-chancellor

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University of the South Pacific’s vice-chancellor and president, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, waves to the protesters at the USP ICT Centre yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Professor Pal Ahluwalia has been reappointed as vice-chancellor and president by the University of the South Pacific.

The announcement was made after the USP council meeting concluded yesterday.

The council meeting was chaired by acting pro-chancellor and chair, Emeritus Professor Pat Walsh who is also the government of New Zealand representative as Dr Hilda Heine was away on university business.

This decision comes as staff expressed their disappointment over grievances not being addressed.

As a result, the Association of the University of the South Pacific Staff (AUSPS) president Elizabeth Fong said they would seek redress outside the university.

It is likely the staff unions, which have more than 650 members, will begin the industrial action process.

One of the demands of the unions was the removal of Prof Pal from his post.

A statement from USP yesterday said the council had endorsed Prof Ahluwalia’s performance.

“The council was updated on the finances of the university and noted the ongoing challenges the university continues to face,” the statement said.

“Council also heard from staff representatives and urged the unions and management to work collaboratively in the interest of the university.”

Apart from this, Prof Ahluwalia also informed the council that the university was delivering its priorities successfully against the backdrop of declining enrolment numbers and financial constraints.