Cabinet endorses U.S.P. rebranding
The Cabinet has approved the rebranding of the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua Campus as the U.S.P. Samoa Campus.
The Government Press Secretariat confirmed the rebranding in a statement Monday afternoon stating the endorsement was made last year.
"[The] University of the South Pacific Alafua Campus’ name [will be changed] to U.S.P. ‘Samoa Campus’," a statement issued by the Secretariat said.
"Cabinet has approved in its meeting on 11th November 2020, to change the official name of the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua Campus to ‘Samoa Campus’."
They did not specify a reason why the change was made.
Attempts to get a comment from the Minister of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), Loau Keneti Sio were unsuccessful on Monday.
The name change comes after a year of the university’s main campus in Fiji being marred by scandal and mutual recriminations within the regional university management.
The name change was initially confirmed to the Samoa Observer by an official spokesperson for the university's Vice-Chancellor, Pal Ahluwalia, who is based at U.S.P. headquarters in Laucala, Fiji.
In June, Professor Ahluwalia was suspended by a committee led by Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson over allegations of malpractice.
But he was reinstated after weeks of protests by students and staff when the council ruled due process had not been followed.
Samoa was among the international university's member countries to have voiced their concerns over the investigation and treatment of the Vice-Chancellor.
U.S.P. spokeswoman, Vineeta Nand, confirmed the change was requested and approved last year.
“The request for a name change was made by the Government of Samoa in November 2020 and unanimously approved by the U.S.P. Council at its meeting in November 2020,” said Ms. Nand via e-mail in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
“The date for the official name change from the U.S.P. Alafua Campus to U.S.P. Samoa Campus is yet to be decided as internal processes are taking place."
She did not say what prompted the name change.
“We are not at liberty to disclose the reasons for the request from the Government of Samoa," Ms. Nand said.
M.E.S.C. Minister Loau and Chief Executive Office of the Ministry of Finance Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi are on the U.S.P. council which is composed of 31 representatives from member countries of the international university.