USP Council yet to decide on vice chancellor Professor Pal’s contract

 The future of deported USP boss Professor Pal Ahluwalia remains up in the air. 

The University of the South Pacific Council meeting Tuesday did not consider the status of Professor Pal Ahluwalia, who was deported from Fiji almost two weeks ago. 

The sub-committee that was formed to consider Professor Ahluwalia’s status, specifically whether he can stay on as Vice Chancellor, potentially operating from another USP member country, was unable to present its recommendations to the Council. 

This means Dr Giulio Masasso Tu'ikolongahau Paunga stays on as Acting Vice-Chancellor and President until further notice. 

Meanwhile, the Council has referred alleged breaches of the USP Council Code of Conduct by ProChancellor, Winston Thompson and the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee, Mahmood Khan to an executive committee. 

That committee has been asked to provide its recommendations to Council by the end of next month. 

Two university unions, the Association of the University of South Pacific Staff and the University of the South Pacific Staff Union want Council to obtain a second legal opinion on the status of Professor Ahluwalia, claiming the existing Council lawyer has already provided advice on the Vice Chancellor’s deportation. 

The unions say while the Council’s decision on allegations against Thompson and Khan “is respected”, “the irony of that decision is that whilst the Fiji Government argues its position on the breaches of conduct on the grounds of ‘due process’ it failed to live by that principle in the leadup to the deportation of Professor Pal and his wife.


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