UG Vice Chancellor will leave job if there’s political intereference

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 June 2016, 6:03 by Denis Chabrol

Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith on Friday vowed to pack  up and leave if there is political interference in the publicly funded tertiary institution.

“I am not prepared to  be the Vice Chancellor of a university where politics is intruding into the university and undermining the good work of the students and the faculty,” he said.

He was addressing participants of a UG Ambassadors Conference shortly after they returned from visiting the campuses at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown and Tain, Corentyne, Berbice to help them craft a plan for UG’s revival in the 21st century that would ensure integrity and respectability.

Professor Griffith expressed concern that both the People’s National Congress (PNC) and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) –led governments had ensured there was “an unmitigated disaster in the making by conflating politics and academics in a way that is hurtful to the institution whether it is teaching or its research,” he said.

“If the university leadership, if the government wants a Vice Chancellor that is going to be amenable to allowing political decisions to guide what happens, get another Vice Chancellor,” said Griffith who has had strong ties to the PNC.

He said the university has found itself in a situation where roles and responsibilities of the Council and other decision-making bodies of the university are blurred.

Successive Vice Chancellors in recent times have cited the need to revamp UG’s Statute as part of efforts to ensure that the composition of the Council is not stacked with political functionaries or representatives.

The mostly overseas-based Guyanese academics, mainly UG alumni, returned from Tain and Turkeyen campuses, saying it was “criminal” to have allowed the institution to decline.