U.S.P. V.C. reinstated, move to Samoa wins majority

The University of the South Pacific's governing body has decided to relocate the reinstated Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia to the Samoa Campus at Alafua. 

Following a meeting on Tuesday, the U.S.P. Council voted to issue a new contract for the Vice Chancellor’s position to Professor Pal, relocate the VC’s office to Samoa and stipulate that his contract be a three-year term, the Island Business reported. 

This comes more than a year of toxic efforts by the Fijian Government to remove VC Ahluwalia from the Suva, Fiji Campus, which inevitably led to his deportation from the university’s main campus without warning, following a late-night raid and his deportation to Australia the following day.

Contacted for comment by this newspaper on Thursday, VC Ahluwalia, said he was not comfortable commenting on the matter as he is yet to be officially notified by the Council.

The Council is expected to meet again next week.

According to Island Business report, Australia joined with Council chair, Winston Thompson of Fiji, along with the Fijian representatives in voting against the notion to relocate the V.C. to Samoa. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand joined the majority including Samoa, Niue, Tonga and Marshall Islands as well as the majority of the university staff and student representatives in approving the motion.

The Fijian team that partook in the meeting voted against all three of the motions.

Sources say Samoa was represented by senior Government officials led by Ministry of Education Chief Executive Officer, Afamasaga Dr. Karoline Fuatai. 

In an interview earlier this year, a few days after his sudden deportation, VC Ahluwalia said he would welcome an invitation from Samoa.

“Yes absolutely, I would be delighted to run U.S.P. from Samoa,” the Vice-Chancellor said in an exclusive interview with the Samoa Observer.

VC Ahluwalia has been in Nauru for three months now at the invitation of the President of Nauru Lionel Aingimea to observe first-hand the challenges that face countries in Micronesia and the South Pacific and see what can be done to improve them.

Since the extensive and hostile campaign of the Pro Chancellor Thompson boiled over, the caretaker Government has been very open about their intentions to let the V.C. work from Samoa.

Last month, caretaker Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi said he had no doubts that Samoa would be the final choice for V.C. Ahluwalia’s next office.

V.C. Ahluwalia drew the university and national authorities ire for whistle-blowing a raft of misspending and irregular bonuses among the University leadership.

Copies of his audit report, and a follow-up report that backed up his findings by audit reform B.D.O. Auckland, were widely leaked and exposed widespread corruption in the school.

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