Open letter to incoming U.S.P. Vice Chancellor
Congratulations on your appointment and hope that your taking over the helm of the ship will ensure that USP as an Institution will remain afloat and not sink into the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
We salute as well all of the recent graduates from the ceremony two Fridays ago, you have done everyone proud, especially for your loved one, friends and beloved country nations.
However, there are some matters which need to be brought to your attention, matters that as an Alumni, needs to be addressed and despite our USP Patriotism, in order for us to advance in the future and to maintain status quo, has to be looked into.
USP Alafua: Prolonged recruitment of a Pro Vice Chancellor: There has been too much power play and conflicts in the past between Head of School and Campus Director which results in the lack of progress and direction and it sandwiches the students, that are not receiving the full benefits of the services which they are entitled to
NPF, Overtime and leave benefits: Some of the workers employed for more than 2 years do not have their NPF or ACC paid as they are entitled to under the Law of Samoa. Some staff are paid overtime whilst others are given time off, others have their leave balances paid out whilst others have theirs forfeited.
Agriculture Courses: It will be of interest that you have a look at the trend of these particular courses AG213 and AG373, the poor performance over the past few years... isn’t that a sign there is something wrong with the delivery of these courses? Where are the evaluation forms that students complete at the end of each course? Are they just for formalities? Because I am telling you there will be some very colourful remarks in those evaluation forms. Because of these 2 courses many of the Agri students having to settle for a Diploma in Agriculture. This poses another question, what kind of system allows for graduating in Diploma, when you enrolled in a Bachelor of Agriculture course? It is an interesting loophole.
SAS Services: There have been many issues from this particular Section, including misinformation to students, delay in the submission of relevant paperwork which penalises students that are dependent on their endorsement. Cases of students not being able to graduate upon receiving misinformation on what courses has mental toll on students and their families.
Centre in Savai’i: There have been Open days and Career days held on the big island of Savaii with thousands of tala being spent on these without any real impact. Shouldn’t the resources be focused on facilities for the students such as relevant study space, updated computers, wi-fi service and fixing the leakages to the infrastructure when it rains? Receiving no course materials, no local tutors, and no identification cards. How can we continue to promote USP as an Institution when these basic services and utilities (not to mention the poor amenity conditions) are not made available? Maybe it’s the testimony from current students that results in the decline in registered students over the past few years? (Please note that number of Enrolled students per year does not count, it is the number of registered students....)
Student Welfare Officer: Call it what you may, but everyone knows she was not a Yes Sir person, so despite her hard work and efforts, she had to go. For someone that was putting in a lot of time and effort for community outreach and promotion of USP Alafua, she was treated very unfair, and wish her all the best in whatever she pursues.
On Campus Residential for 2018: Lowest ever recording of students residing on campus, simply too expensive, what the students have been calling on for so many years and seems to be falling on deaf ears “Remove the compulsory Meal Fee” this will ensure many students from the region and local can afford to stay on campus.
Security: The current security team act like they are guarding a Prison, maybe they should look for jobs as police wardens instead.
Awarding of Building and Maintenance Contracts: In the past these used to undergo a proper evaluation process from Tenders by the Management, and yet over the past 2 years they have been single-handedly awarded to 1 contractor only, even very simple tasks like water blasting the roof tops is outsourced to this contractor, really? USP maintenance team do not possess the ability to carry out these tasks?
These are just some issues which the writer feels warrants your attention as a new leader that we hope will help to revive USP Alafua to the glory of days past, and hopefully guide USP towards the straight and narrow, and not towards the crooked and broad.
“Towards Excellence in Learning and Knowledge Creation “... Is it?
Concerned USP Samoa Alumnus
EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of the South Pacific had been contacted for a comment. Their response has been published over a series of stories starting yesterday with the stories titled “University respond to allegations” and “Don’t blame low pass rate on teaching experience.” More stories from the University’s response are being published today.