UG on course to addressing 'REP' problem - Vice-Chancellor
Faced with a “REP” problem for a protracted period, the University of Guyana [UG] is in desperate need of redemption. The way has already been paved for this renaissance but the problem must be recognised in order for it to be effectively addressed.
Several problems faced by the state university were recently amplified by its Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith. “UG has had an REP—Resources, Esteem, and Perspicacity—problem. I am quite mindful of the prescient proposition of Writer and Philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore: ‘You cannot cross the sea simply by standing and staring at the water.’ “Thus, on assuming the Vice-Chancellorship, rather than lament, I launched Project Renaissance, which aims to rebuild UG’s educational and economic enterprise and enable it to become a consequential national and international educational stakeholder,” asserted Professor Griffith.
Professor Griffith’s remarks were made during his inaugural speech after making history as the first Vice Chancellor of the UG to have a coronation ceremony. But Professor Griffith hopes to also make history by revolutionising the national university.
He observed that “this institution’s recent yesterdays have been characterized by neglect and stormy seas, with an interlinked three-dimensional predicament, which revolved around resources, both in relation to acquisition and management; esteem, internal as well as external, and notably in relation to academic credibility and brand; and perspicacity, in that the University had lost its intellectual spunk when it comes to critical inquiry and theoretical and applied research.”
He said that his vision for a renaissance project is both a dreaming and doing project. “Why dream, some have asked, when this University has suffered such neglect and for so long? This Renaissance Bridge Building Project has four main pillars, called imperatives, and six values,” asserted Professor Griffith.
According to the university’s Principal, the first imperative is capital investment, which involves human capital, physical capital, and brand capital. Second to this is academic enhancement, which Professor Griffith said, entails improving instructional credentials, curricula and andragogy [adult education], and introducing new educational programmes and research to address national and regional business, civic, and overall development needs.
He pointed out that the economic viability imperative is the third pillar. This imperative, he said, requires fortifying the major existing revenue streams, that is, government subventions and tuition fees but also expanding the revenue base, through alumni and corporate giving, grants, and merchandising.
The fourth Imperative, Alumni Engagement, entails reaching out to UG graduates within and outside Guyana, celebrating their accomplishments, and inviting them to aid the continued pursuit of our mission and goals.
“As one might suspect, pursuing Project Renaissance has daunting, Herculean elements. It entails facing and fixing, to quote writer James Baldwin, and it involves pursuing new ventures and setting new baselines, some of which are new to UG and to Guyana, although not new to the academy in many parts of the world,” said Professor Griffith.
“Understandably, then, decision-making often has been—and will be—tough. But, as Roy Disney once averred—and correctly so, in my view: ‘It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are,” said Professor Griffith who confidently underscored that “our Renaissance pursuits are guided by six cardinal values: Respect, Integrity, Excellence, Transparency, Inclusion, and Efficiency.”
But such values, according to the Vice Chancellor, cannot be merely platitudinous incantations; they must be lived. He added, “in relation to excellence, for example, Aristotle reminds us of the importance of habituation: ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit,’ he said. Living these values is particularly important at this period of Guyana’s contemporary history, as our nation has a considerable Respect-deficit and Integrity-challenged profile.
The onus is on us at the University to aid the alteration of this profile over time,” underscored the Vice Chancellor. Even as he pointed out that changes introduced at the university have started to yield laudable results, Vice Chancellor Griffith noted that this has not been without challenges and criticisms. He, however, noted that the University will continue to boasts of its success. This, he revealed, will entail the posting of a scorecard to the University’s website for the world to see.
Ivelaw Griffith Installed As UG's 10th Vice-Chancellor
Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith was officially installed as the tenth Vice-Chancellor of University of Guyana.
The Investiture of Professor Griffith will formally grant him the authority and symbols of high office.
June 14, 2017, was the one-year anniversary of Professor Griffith’s selection as the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
This historic ceremony, the first of its kind for a Vice-Chancellor at the University of Guyana, will involve a procession with faculty attired in academic regalia and the conferring of the official powers and responsibilities of the office to Professor Griffith by the Chancellor of UG Professor Nigel Harris.
Professor Griffith had explained that the officially swearing ceremony takes place one year after the Vice Chancellor’s appointment to allow him an opportunity to prove that he is capable of performing in that capacity.
Professor Griffith had expressed confidence that he has achieved a lot within his one year tenure.
Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith was appointed the Tenth Principal and Vice Chancellor of The University of Guyana in June 2016, having served earlier as Executive-in-Residence at The University at Albany, State University of New York, and the Ninth President of Fort Valley State University in Georgia, where he led the right-sizing of the educational and economic enterprise, focusing on growing enrollment, enhancing the academic profile, controlling spending, launching Honors and Undergraduate Research programs, and initiating a feasibility study to establish a School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation.
A tenured professor of political science, he served from 2007 to 2013 provost and senior vice president at York College in New York where notable achievements included growing the full-time faculty by 30 percent, re-organizing Academic Affairs into Schools of Business and Information Systems, Arts & Sciences, and Health Sciences and Professional Programs, and enhancing research and scholarship by creating the Provost Lectures, the Distinguished Scholars Lectures, and the Undergraduate Research Program. He also established Discovery to celebrate and incentivize faculty excellence in research and service. Earlier, he was provost at Radford University in Virginia, budget dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University (FIU), and dean of The Honors College at FIU, all while holding his professorship.
A UG alumnus, he was the first person to graduate with distinction in political science. He also holds a Master of Arts from Long Island University, New York, and both a Master of Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Political Science from The City University of New York Graduate School. As well, he graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s program in educational leadership. An expert on Caribbean and hemispheric security, drugs and crime, he originated the concept called Geonarcotics in the early 1990s as a way to study the complex relationship involving drugs, geography, power and politics, outlining it first in Canada’s leading international affairs scholarly magazine: “From Cold War Geopolitics to Post-Cold War Geonarcotics,” International Journal Vol. 49 (Winter) 1993-94, 1-36.
Article adapted from: http://newsroom.gy/2017/07/28/ivelaw-griffith-installed-as-ugs-10th-vc/
The University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor Griffith invested
Just after 5 pm yesterday, Professor Ivelaw Griffith took his seat as the Tenth Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Guyana (UG) to the tune of trumpet fanfare.
He had just been installed in the position for a second year by Chancellor Nigel Harris as part of an investiture ceremony held in the recently renovated George Walcott Theatre. First installed in June 2016, Griffith’s first year was marked by big ideas, big investments and colourful ceremonies, although he has been accused of being preoccupied with grandeur.
President of the UG Students’ Society Ron Glasgow told those gathered that for the students the year with Griffith has been like eating a creole fish dish – sweet, but filled with pesky bones.
He stated that like most Guyanese, UG students like fish and have enjoyed the new lecture theatre, better Wi-Fi across campus and more comfortable ways of paying tuition.
The increase in tuition, however, was one of those pesky bones with which they have found it difficult to contend.
Glasgow congratulated Griffith on the actions, ambitions and visions of both him and his staff, which have improved the learning experience, but took time to encourage the strengthening of transparency and communication.
He urged the VC to “keep on, keeping on,” an encouragement echoed by Captain Gerry Gouveia, who spoke on behalf of the private sector. According to Gouveia, though persons have questioned Griffith’s audacity in several areas, he holds the support of the private sector.
Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Dr Emmanuel Cummings credited Griffith with healing several wounds which proliferated across the university. “We have a much healthier university,” he told those gathered.
Minister of Education Nicolette Henry congratulated Griffith, saying that the government and people of Guyana look forward to his continued contribution to the creation of an innovative education system.
“In the past year, you have brought a drive towards innovation at a time when the university was in danger of stagnation. You have contributed to a sense of augustness and appropriate academic decorum at time when it was increasingly being seen as a place undeserving of respect,” she stated.
Bolstered by this encouragement, the VC committed to the continued implementation of Project Renaissance as a means to bolster the university’s diminished resources, esteem and perspicacity.
“For the University of Guyana to have tomorrows beyond crisis management and beyond avoidance of being practitioners of the science of muddling through, the renaissance bridge-building must be sustained at least for the next three years,” he told those gathered, noting that it was a continuation of the dreaming and doing which saw the university established five decades ago.
Project Renaissance aims to rebuild UG’s educational and economic enterprise and enable it to become a consequential national and international stakeholder.
Throughout its first year, the project has seen several changes being instituted to the organizational structure and operations of UG. Operating under the four pillars of Capital Investment, Academic Enhancement, Economic Viability and Alumni Engagement, this project has birthed the School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation, the Turkeyen and Tain Talks, two undergraduate research conferences and the just concluded diaspora engagement conference, among other things.
According to Griffith, the next year will see even more innovation with the establishment of the Renaissance STEAM task force which will be chaired by Drs Norman Monroe and Suresh Narine.
This team will be examining the university’s implementation of its Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math programmes. Also on this year’s agenda is a review of the university’s law program.
This project also has an identified chair in the person of Professor Velma Newton, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Programme.
Others who delivered remarks at yesterday’s ceremony were Principal of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies Professor Brian Copeland, President of the University of Liberia Professor Ophelia Weeks, Director of the Trent Centre for Biomaterial Research at Trent University Professor Suresh Narine, President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr Warren Smith and Lillian Misick of the UG class of 1980.
Article adapted from: https://www.stabroeknews.com/2017/news/stories/07/29/university-vc-griffith-invested/
Professor Griffith officially installed as UG Vice-Chancellor
Before an audience of about 300, Professor Ivelaw Griffith in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre was yesterday officially installed as the 10th Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana [UG] at an investiture ceremony.
Ahead of the ceremonial installation, which was executed by Chancellor Professor Nigel E. Harris, tributes from various academic and professional factions were presented.
The greetings were all flattering and amplified, among others things, that Professor Griffith was best suited to effect an already in progress paradigm shift at the university which boasts a 8,645 student-population across two campuses – Turkeyen and Tain.
The Vice Chancellor was yesterday even credited with healing wounds, some self inflicted, at the national university. It was emphasised by Chancellor Harris before the ceremonial installation that when Professor Griffith accepted the appointment as Vice Chancellor in June 2016, it was an immense sacrifice he made. But there have been criticisms, he observed. Chancellor Harris said that while he believes in criticism, they should however, at all times, be constructive.
There were however no criticisms yesterday. Among those who physically extended favourable greetings yesterday to the Vice Chancellor were– on behalf of students – Ron Glasgow, President of the University of Guyana Students’ Society; on behalf of UG staff – Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Emanuel Cummings; on behalf of the alumni – Turks and Caicos resident, Ms Lillian Misick of Class of 1980; on behalf of the University of the West Indies, Professor Brian Copeland of the St Augustine Campus; on behalf of the University of Liberia, its President, Professor Ophelia Weeks; on behalf of the Trent University, its Director for Biomaterials Research, Professor Suresh Narine; on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank, its President, Dr. Warren Smith; on behalf of the private sector, Chief Executive Officer of Roraima Airways, Captain Gerald Gouveia and on behalf of Government, Education Minister, Ms. Nicolette Henry.
The ceremony commenced with a procession with faculty heads attired in academic regalia. It was after a musical rendition by Mr. Keith Waithe, a visiting distinguished artist, that Professor Nigel Harris administered the oath of office and installed Professor Griffith.
The historic moment was followed by a bout of drum rolls and trumpet sounds that emanated from the Police Force Band.
The ceremony advanced with Professor Griffith, who entered garbed in his doctoral robe, being asked to disrobe after which he was helped into the Vice Chancellors’ ceremonial attire.
In his inaugural address as the first installed Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Griffith acknowledged that although his charge is to lead the university forward he is fully aware that it did not “magically” arrive at the place it is currently at.
“There was dreaming and there was doing,” said Professor Griffith who recalled visionaries the likes of the late Presidents, Cheddi Berrett Jagan and Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham and C. V. Nunes, a former Minister of Education.
According to the newly installed Vice Chancellor, it was dreaming and doing that allowed UG to move from a class of 154 in 1964 to more than 8,000 in 2017.
But it has not always been smooth sailing from the inception of the university, Professor Griffith noted even as he shared his intent to build on the work that was started a long time ago.
Among those who witnessed the auspicious occasion yesterday were President David Granger; Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo; Government ministers and other dignitaries.
Professor Griffith was appointed the 10th Principal and Vice Chancellor of UG in June 2016.
He had earlier served as Executive-in-Residence at The University at Albany, State University of New York, and the Ninth President of Fort Valley State University in Georgia, where he led the right-sizing of the educational and economic enterprise, focusing on growing enrollment, enhancing the academic profile, controlling spending, launching Honors and Undergraduate Research programmes, and initiating a feasibility study to establish a School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation.
Professor Griffith has also introduced a number of similar programmes since taking up his appointment and, according to him, he has plans to do even more as the renaissance of UG continues to unfold.
UG Vice-Chancellor welcomes delegates to Diaspora conference
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, used the words of a Guyanese folk song which translates: “if you didn’t come you wouldn’t know”— to encourage Guyanese at home and abroad, to rediscover their homeland, and make use of the opportunities available to them, during his welcome on Sunday, July 23, to unveil the historic Diaspora Engagement Conference at the Ramada Georgetown Princess.
Griffith told the audience of academics, politicians, professionals, civic society, as well as non-Guyanese, that they should get to know the wisdom and worth of each other, and maximize the opportunity to “come and know,” pointing out that many Guyanese at home do not know much about their country.
Under the theme, “Dreaming Diaspora Engagement, Doing Diaspora Engagement,” the vice chancellor encouraged attendees to engross themselves in the country’s tourism mecca, by visiting tourist sites.
Minister of Public Telecommunication, Cathy Hughes, in turn thanked members of the Diaspora for their commitment to Guyana’s development, stating that the UG Diaspora Engagement conference gives them an opportunity to help to transcend and transform Guyana, calling on the Diaspora to use the easy connectivity to give back to their communities.
She promised to navigate the challenges of Guyana and called on visitors to be patient with the government as it repositions itself to engage Guyanese who would like to return to serve their homeland.
Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Cui Jianchun, CEO of Roraima Airways Gerry Gouvier, and consultant from Canada Jillian Williams, Director of Roraima Institute, Paul Tennassee, and others, shared their insights and hopes for a successful Diaspora engagement.
More than 200 delegates attended the conference, while many others delivered keynote addresses and presented papers from various professions.
Spoken word poet, Keon Heywood, celebrated Guyana’s beauty with a poem, while London-based award-winning flautist and composer, Keith Waithe and the Macusi Players delighted the gathering.
Prof. Ivelaw Griffith’s UG renaissance at work
One of Prof. Ivelaw Griffith’s Renaissance aims for the University of Guyana is for it to make itself immediately relevant to the life of the Guyanese Community. The Turkeyen and Tain Lectures is one such example; the University is now being brought to the public. Both the younger and older generations have come to look forward to these lectures not merely as an intellectual treat but as something that is raising public awareness of important societal problems and giving pointers to their solutions.
The recent lecture on “Youth, Crime and Violence” was very topical and in the presentations of the various speakers as well as in the audience discussion, various thought-provoking reasons and solutions were proffered as to why Guyanese youth were being drawn into a whirlpool of crime and violence.
All reasons and solutions put forward by presenters as well as the audience had much validity but none was all-encompassing. The various solutions were reminiscent of the ancient story of six blind men who were brought to an elephant and were then asked what an elephant was.
The first one touched the trunk and he concluded that an elephant was a tube; the next touched the tusks and decided that the elephant was a kind of spear; the next touched the legs and believed that the elephant was a column; the fifth touched the side of the animal and said an elephant was a wall; and the last touched the ear and concluded that an elephant was a kind of large flat fan.
The first presenter was the Khemraj Ramjattan, Minister of Public Security. He avoided putting forward any specific solutions as he could have done but instead referred to the various reports on the subject which covered a great number of solutions. Among the solutions which surfaced during the evening was that youth should be kept away from drugs and alcohol; that poverty was a major cause of youth crime and this has to be addressed by creating more jobs and teaching various skills to youth so that they could become self-employed; having healthier TV, radio and press since the media have oftentimes stimulated youth crime; youth crime and violence often become ingrained in Society because of the emergence of criminal youth gangs. These gangs could be changed or even dissolved if such gangs are in contact with sincere and understanding men of God and religious bodies.
Many youth feel alienated and are drawn into criminal anti-social behaviour because they feel society is run by the old and as such they have no stake in it.
Promoting youth into more decision-making roles in society would help in ending alienation and diminish youth crime. Several participants felt that the State, through an active, imaginative and creative Ministry of Youth could do a great deal for young people and greatly diminish youth crime and violence.
Many consumer societies such as the Committee of the Guyana Consumers’ Association take a slightly different approach towards the elimination or containment of youth crime and violence:
In the first place, we feel that greater importance and stress should be given to religion in society. This implies that though we feel that the metaphysical teachings of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity should be taught and made known, by far the main focus should be on the moral and ethical teachings of Religion.
The moral and ethical teachings of all religions are much the same and such would bring about greater solidarity among people of Faith in socializing parents and their children in a moral and ethical life.
Two or three generations ago, people in the villages of Guyana and even in the city were far more God-fearing than to-day; youth crime and violence were almost unknown.
Suicide is today an important element of youth crime. If young persons have a strong religious background, they would not be suicidal since they would understand that it is a privilege to have a human body and that the body is the source of both material as well as spiritual joy.
If one becomes overwhelmed in suffering and unhappiness and one is aware of the basic religious teaching that pleasure and pain are not permanent states of being, one would never feel that one could escape from pain and suffering by destroying one’s body since suffering and unhappiness are temporary states which will pass away.
In addition to religion, the secular education system could help to socialize children and youth into law-abiding members of Society. And this should start from the primary schools. Two or three generations ago, there were textbooks like the Royal Readers which inculcated moral virtues such as obedience to parents and familial solidarity, belief in and respect for religion, serving and even sacrificing for society, empathizing with the sufferings of other human beings and love and respect for animals.
Today’s textbooks are mainly concerned with teaching the skills of reading and writing, and not with the content of the written word as was the case of the Royal Readers. Accordingly, today’s textbooks need to be supplemented with reading matter inculcating moral values and behaviour. Two or three generations ago, the textbooks helped to produce law-abiding and constructive youth and if we resuscitate the method, it would work again.
A third approach towards youth crime and violence is to strengthen the family by having parents know the value of bringing up their children as law-abiding citizens and also to give them an understanding of how much more profitable it is to be moral rather than unmoral.
Other virtues parents, and so eventually children, will have to be exposed to is to live within one’s means. Clothes, for example, should be made to go their fullest usage before discarded and food should be wholesome and not fast foods which are more expensive.
Parents should help their children and encourage them in their studies and encourage reading, using the public library facilities. Closer familial contact would lead to stronger families and such inhibits juvenile delinquency and youth crime and violence.
Vice Chancellor justifies several senior appointments at national university
Some basic things to ensure the efficient management of the University of Guyana [UG] have been neglected for so many years that some people have accepted them as the norm.
This was the assertion of Vice Chancellor of the national university, Professor Ivelaw Griffith.
“There are some things for the management; for the efficiency of the economics and operations [that] we have neglected for years, so much so that people think it’s normal.
It is a university that has been so accustomed to managing on a shoe-string budget that people think that anytime you do a little, you are being profligate.”
The Vice Chancellor’s remarks were forthcoming in response to concerns about allegations that his appointment of a number of senior officials at the national university has resulted in the institution becoming ‘top heavy’.
The University last year released information to the effect that on August 22, 2016, the Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC) – the second highest policy-making body after the Council – approved a proposal by the Vice Chancellor Griffith to comprehensively restructure the university’s leadership.
This move, it was revealed, was designed to create greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness and set the stage for innovation in academic and non-academic areas. The changes, which became effective on October 1, 2016, entailed having Dr Michael Scott, the immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, become Deputy Vice- Chancellor (DVC) of Academic Engagement.
The former DVC of Academics, Dr Barbara Reynolds, was named DVC for Planning and International Engagement, a new entity intended to streamline and extend UG’s international relationships and build new grant, research, and other relationships with other universities and with international organizations.
Dr Paloma Mohamed, a former Director for the Centre for Communication Studies and a former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, now occupies the newly-created position of DVC of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE), which has the mandate to enhance UG’s fund-raising, rebranding, alumni relationships, and public interchange, all of which are said to be crucial to the University’s renaissance.
Added to this, the new administrative team was expected to be strengthened with the establishment of an Office of Strategic Initiatives in the Vice Chancellery, to undertake institutional strengthening, project management, and allied services.
Appointed to head this area is Dr. Fitzgerald Yaw, Consultant on Governance, Sustainability, and Economic Development, who has worked across the Americas and the Caribbean.
Added to this, Ms Karen Wishart, who was the Programme Officer in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, was promoted to the first Chief of Staff in the Vice-Chancellery.
This promotion was said to coincide with the renaming of the Senior Administrative Group to the Vice- Chancellor’s Cabinet, which includes the DVCs, Registrar, Bursar, Human Resources Director, Director of the Berbice Campus, the Legal Officer—another new position—the Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, and the Chief of Staff.
But there have been numerous concerns voiced that the size of the university does not warrant the magnitude of appointments.
Vice Chancellor Griffith, however, made it clear that while the proposal was his to present, it certainly wasn’t suddenly conjured up upon his appointment as the principal of the university.
He explained that the University over the years benefited from a number of assessment studies intended to help improve its operation.
Among the most recent, was one completed by Hamilton Associates in 2012. The assessment in question, Professor Griffith said, not only recognised that the university was neglected in terms of its human capital, but went on to outline that it did not have sufficient lecturers or administrators for that matter.
He underscored that the one of the things that the Hamilton Report highlighted is that “the university is too big and part of why it has not done well is that it is running on a shoe-string budget, both on the lecturers’ side and on the administrative side.”
Part of the recommendation to help address the shortcomings of the University that is detailed in the Report is the appointment of at least four Deputy Vice Chancellors in addition to the Vice Chancellor.
But according to Professor Griffith, although he saw the need for the recommended measures to be implemented, “I said we can’t afford four [but] let’s move from one to three.” In fact, he noted that among the neglected human resource area of the university is the lack of a Civil Engineer, an Attorney and even a Chief Accountant.
“Partly because of the low salaries at this university, both on the teaching and administrative sides, we have had difficulty recruiting people,” said Professor Griffith, as he related that the recommendation for an augmented staff did not even taken into consideration the university’s current 8,000-plus student population.
Moreover, Professor Griffith has said, “what I have begun to do, and I make no apologies for doing this, is to try to right-size both the teaching staff and the administrative staff.”
“How are we going to get grants if we don’t have people to write them? How do you get the alumni to give back if you don’t have the mechanisms? How do you get the corporations to give, if you don’t have people who will wine and dine them and follow up with them?” questioned the Vice Chancellor as he added, “There is a lot of vacuous, misinformed commentary about big spending.”
The Vice Chancellor also made it clear that “I am going to always make the right decisions for the right reasons, irrespective of the criticisms, because sometimes the people don’t know the facts…So I would say to anyone the documents are there.”
UG's development hampered by serious pilfering problem - Vice Chancellor
A serious, protracted pilfering situation has been listed among the factors that have been hampering the development of the University of Guyana [UG]. In fact, the Guyana Police Force a few months ago was called in to investigate reports of theft from the Centre for Information Technology [CIT].
But according to UG Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, during an interview with this publication, CIT is not the only department of the university to be so plagued. The situation, he informed, is far-reaching and has translated to millions worth of items disappearing from various departments of the University.
This state of affairs has undoubtedly helped to contribute to the financial challenge that UG has been faced with over time.
“If we have to replace 17, 18, 19 million dollars a year of stuff, how can we progress as a university? These are equipment for classrooms, for offices, even some of the contractors [are stealing]; stuff are just being stolen from this University,” Professor Griffith related.
“This University has a lot of theft,” stressed the unapologetic Principal of the national university. And according to him, he has made no secret of the state of affairs, but rather, has shared information he has compiled in this regard with both staff and the student body as well.
“I’ve publicly said we don’t have drones coming… [so] it is staff or students, or people facilitated by staff or students, who are coming and stealing stuff.”
Professor Griffith said that during a meeting with Union representatives, for instance, he made it clear to them that “you have an obligation to help us deal with that…there are things that we have to do if we want a different environment.”
“We have to look ourselves in the mirror and say ‘who is going to fix these things?’ It has got to be us,” the Vice Chancellor asserted.
In fact, Professor Griffith said that in his quest to be transparent and share information, even before turning the CIT allegations over to the police, he had had the discussions with the unions of the university – the University of Guyana Workers’ Union and the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association.
It was only after this, he said, that “I called in the CID and they started with that building. What I said to the unions is that I am turning this matter over to the police, and the chips will fall where they may. When the CID is done with its investigation whomever they want to prosecute, I will say go right ahead.”
This happened a few a months ago. But according to Vice Chancellor Griffith, he has since learnt that there is an even greater pilfering problem within the maintenance department of the university.
According to the Vice Chancellor, he got information that suggests that the skulduggery in that department might have surpassed what has already been brought to the attention of the university’s administration.
“I said I know [what’s going on] but I didn’t know the full extent of it, but I have already put [the] Maintenance [Department] on warning that I am coming to them next,” Professor Griffith stated.
According to the Vice Chancellor, when one takes into consideration the persons who are already being investigated, there is a nexus between them and some people associated with the university.
During the month of April, Professor Griffith had called in the Police Force to investigate the allegations of theft of equipment and misconduct of staff members of CIT. The Manager of the Centre and several employees were sent on leave as an interim measure to allow the investigation to proceed without disruption of evidence, and to preserve a safe, orderly, and professional work environment. A temporary manager was identified to oversee the operations of the Centre during the conduct of the investigation which, Professor Griffith said yesterday, was ongoing.
Additionally, there are reports coming out from UG that the Ministry of Public Telecommunications was asked to conduct a forensic audit of the CIT operations at the Turkeyen and Berbice campuses and the four centres of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education located at Anna Regina, Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam.
UG Vice-Chancellor calls in CID
University of Guyana Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith has asked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force to launch an investigation into the operations of the Centre for Information Technology (CIT), following the levelling of serious allegations of theft of equipment from the Centre and misconduct of staff members.
The Manager of the Centre and several employees have been sent on leave as an interim measure to allow the investigation to proceed without disruption of evidence, and to preserve a safe, orderly, and professional work environment. A temporary manager has been identified to oversee the operations of the Centre during the conduct of the investigation. In meeting with the relevant CIT staff and CID officials yesterday, Vice-Chancellor Griffith voiced his commitment to having the appropriate action taken by the Police after the investigation ends.
Additionally, the Ministry of Public Telecommunication has been asked to conduct a forensic audit of the CIT operations at the Turkeyen and Berbice campuses and the four centers of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education located at Anna Regina, Georgetown, Linden and New Amsterdam. The audit begins today.
Vice-Chancellor has briefed the presidents of the two university unions and the students’ society, as well as relevant university leaders on the development. He also wishes to assure the university community that the Centre’s service to students and staff will be normal while the CID conducts its comprehensive investigation and the Ministry of Public Telecommunications undertakes an institution-wide audit of the CIT, which has been plagued with multiple challenges for some time.
UG IN BRIEF
With a current enrollment of some 8,000 students, The University of Guyana (UG) has graduated more than 20,000 students who have gone on to successful careers locally, regionally and internationally. The University is also a major contributor to the national economy and to business and industry. Established in 1963 on a part-time basis with shared space at Queens College, UG moved to its own campus at Turkeyen in 1970 and expanded in 2000 with the addition of the Tain Campus. It now offers more than 60 Under- graduate and Post-graduate Programmes including the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Urban Planning and Management, Tourism Studies, Education, Creative Arts, Economics, Law, Medicine, Optometry and Nursing. Several online programmes are available and The UG also offers extra-mural classes at four locations through its Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE). The UG also offers the opportunity for student engagement in debating, sports, and cultural, religious and professional activities.
Public Relations Division
April 4, 4017
- The University of Guyana