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USP'S VC Blasts Student Boycott As Illegal

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By Nazreen Bibi
USP's Pacific Journalism Online reporter

SUVA: Vice-Chancellor Esekia Solofa today branded the student leader's call for a boycott of classes tomorrow as "illegal" and in breach of USP regulations.

"Students who take part in the boycott will face disciplinary action from the administration," warned Solofa.

Speaking at media conference with journalism students, he said the planned boycott of classes by the University of the South Pacific Students Association tomorrow was a matter of serious concern.

"There is a regulation available which provides clear guidelines on how demonstrations are to be conducted and this boycott does not conform to that regulation," he said.

Solofa said students participating in the boycott would face "adverse" disciplinary action.

"Any action that is in conflict with USP regulations will be dealt with accordingly," he said.

The vice-chancellor also said a decision by the USP not to hold annual student elections was in violation of the provision of the USPSA constitution.

The USPSA has called for a five-hour boycott of classes from 9am tomorrow and a protest outside the university administration offices.

In an open letter, USPSA president Veresi Bainivualiku claimed that the boycott was in protest against the management's "inaction" over serious complaints and issues about students.

Bainivualiku has also said this was the first in a series of actions planned to "demand management to take drastic action against lecturers and staff involved" and immediate corrective action on other issues.

Among the students' log of claims was an allegation of "lecturers in moves to create unrest at USP".

The president's letter also alleged "sexual harassment and attempted rape of a student by a lecturer".

Bainivualiku claimed "possible victimisation of students by some lecturers".

His letter called for an independent inquiry into the operations of the university.

Bainivualiku has had several clashes with the university administration this year and was fined $150 in August by the disciplinary committee for "manhandling" a student.

About the student elections, Solofa said he had advised USPSA to either hold the vote in the middle of the semester, between September 25 to October 19, or present its case to the University Council at this week's meeting.

But his advice to work within the framework of the USPSA constitution had been not been taken.

He said to students that if they were not happy with the actions of the current USPSA administration, "then why have you doing nothing about it?"

+++niuswire


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