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VC must respect statutes

by Lesotho Times

WE, whose names appear below, are some of the individuals who supported the idea requesting the powers that be to convene a meeting of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) congregation in accordance with NUL statute 34 (2) and Ordinance No.3.9 (1).

The agenda of the requested meeting was to provide a forum where members of NUL Congregation could be briefed about the source of the air of uncertainty currently reigning at the university.

The meeting was also intended to provide an opportunity for members of NUL Congregation to express their views on issues surrounding the abuse of public and donor funds at the institution.

Up to this point, members of congregation have only read, seen or heard these matters being reported in the media.

University management have made no effort to inform staff about these issues; neither have congregation representatives on council been given an opportunity to report to their constituency.

One result of all this is that morale is extremely low among staff at NUL.

To some of us, congregation is a very important constituency of any university, and it is absolutely vital that members of this body are always in the know regarding the goings-on at the university.

 In this case, the intention was that, once fully informed, congregation would communicate its position to the public through various media.

We are concerned that the impression being created is one of members of university community who are standing idly by, watching maladministration of the institution, and not saying a word.

We think it is critical that the public know the position of congregation on any development of public interest taking place at the institution.

But this can only be done intelligently if members of congregation have full information. University authorities seem determined that NUL Congregation and the university community at large should remain in the dark.

The statutory provisions invoked to petition convening of congregation require that “not less than 30 members of congregation” make “a written request” for a meeting, and petitioners are obliged to “state the business to be transacted at the meeting” so requested.

Petitioners met and exceeded these requirements. A petitioned meeting has to “be held within seven days following upon” submission of such a written request. University authorities have failed to meet this requirement.

Instead of calling the meeting of congregation in line with the laws quoted in the petition, the vice chancellor has resorted to stonewalling, a tactic which he has used so effectively, so disastrously, and at a great expense to the university in his running disputes with council.

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