N.U.S. dissolves Deputy V.C. position, reinstates the other

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) is dissolving the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor for Corporate Services, currently held by Maugaoali'i Faamanu Mualia.

The N.U.S. Council has also resolved to reinstate the university's other Deputy Vice Chancellor, Pesetā Dr. Desmond Lee Hang.

The Minister of Education Sports and Culture Loau Keneti Sio confirmed the changes in the senior personnel in an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

The decision comes after seven months since Peseta and Maugaoali’i were placed on special leave while an investigation was conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman. 

“The [N.U.S.] Council's decision is to reinstate Peseta and they have opted to dissolve the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Corporate Services and that was reason behind the delay," he said. 

“The Council was conducting a thorough review of their organisational chart [on] whether the said position is necessary. 

“And the impact on the operation, once the position is dissolved, they found that there was duplication of work hence the decision".

He told this newspaper that Peseta will resume work next month. Peseta declined to comment when contacted by the Samoa Observer. 

According to the Ombudsman's report “Power Struggle at the N.U.S.", the conflict began to emerge publicly three months ago when the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Peseta Desmond Lee Hang, was asked to resign by the former Vice Chancellor, Fui Asofou So’o, who said he could not trust nor work with his deputy.

Peseta declined to act on the instruction and wrote to the N.U.S. Council, protesting what he described as his unfair treatment and unlawful dismissal. 

The matter escalated and led to the former Vice Chancellor being suspended pending an investigation, while Peseta and Maugaoali'i were placed on leave. 

The Vice Chancellor (V.C.) later resigned after the investigation was completed. Efforts to get comments from Maugaoali’i (including a visit to her residence) was unsuccessful at the time of going to press. 

To date, Professor Silafau Sina Va'ai is Acting Vice Chancellor of the University while a review of the Vice Chancellor's job description is undertaken by the N.U.S. Council.

Earlier this month, N.U.S. Council Chairman, Aeau Chris Hazelman, said several things need to be addressed regarding the job description for the head of the university. 

“[That happens] for any organisation when you’re going through the terms of reference and what the job actually entails,” said Aeau.

"We learn from our previous mistakes and then we want to make sure that we address all the issues to assure we don’t encounter these types of problems in the future".

He did not identify specific issues, but stated once a review is complete with amendments it has to be endorsed by the N.U.S. Council members. 

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