The pro-chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the chair of the USP Council, Winston Thompson, and the chair of the USP Audit and Risk Committee (ARC), Mahmood Khan, may face criticism and possible “action” from the USP Council to hold a press conference on September 11, 2020. .
This, according to a letter sent by the USP chancellor and President of Nauru, Lionel Rouwen Aingimea, to Mr Thompson on September 18, calls for a special council meeting to consider these measures.
Eleven other USP Council members supported organizing the special council meeting, including USP vice president and president, Prof Pal Ahluwalia.
Mr Thompson had held a press conference on Sept. 11 at which he said he accepted the USP Council’s decision to end all investigations into Ahluwalia, but added there was a disconnect between USP management and the USP Council.
Mr Khan was also present at the press conference.
The USP Chancellor, Mr Aingimea, proposed that the council consider taking “action” against Mr Thompson and Mr Khan.
He accused the two of “campaigning against the vice chancellor and the USP Council’s recent ruling”.
“The pro-chancellor and chair of the ARC, who publicly opposed the council’s decision of 4 September 2020 to stop the trial of the deputy chancellor’s allegations,” Aingimea said in the letter.
He said the board needed to discuss action to take against the duo in light of the statements they were making against the board “which is the highest authority of the USP”.
Mr Thompson yesterday confirmed he had received a letter from the USP chancellor.
“I have received the letter,” he said.
“I have to have a board meeting.”
When asked about the agenda and calls for “action” against him and Mr Khan, Mr Thompson said the matter was for “consideration by the council”.
When contacted, Khan said he was informed of the special board meeting.
“My job as chairman is to investigate and report to the board and it looks like they want me out now,” he said.
The holding of this special council meeting was supported by the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, USP vice chancellor Mr Ahluwalia, Senate representatives Prof Surendra Prasad, staff representatives Dr Robin Havea, co-optation members of Semi Tukana and student representatives of Joseph Sua and Viliame Naulivou.
Under council rules, the meeting must be held before September 28.
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