Vol. 5 No. 2
USP PLANS TO CITE CULPRIT FOR BREACH OF CONFIDENCE
By AMANDA SMITH
VICE-CHANCELLOR Esekia Sololfa has warned that the person who breached the confidentiality on the recommendation made by the USP’s joint selection committee for the next vice-chancellor will be cited under the disciplinary regulations of the university.
Nobody has yet been cited for breaching confidentiality over the controversy earlier this month.
“A charge will have to be laid against the offending person. The person will then face the disciplinary committee and the committee will deal with the case,” said Mr Solofa.
“Procedures provide for a disciplinary committee and they will determine a penalty if indeed in the end the offence is proved,” he said.
The breach of confidentiality was evident when the Fijian Student’s Association boycotted classes in the belief that a new Vice-Chancellor had been appointed.
The boycott of classes went on for a week in protest against the USP’s joint select committee’s reported “appointment” of Professor Rajesh Chandra as Vice-Chancellor over Savenaca Siwatibau.
The protest was also against the procedure taken by the committee in appointing the next vice-chancellor.
In a press release, the Vice-Chancellor’s office had confirmed that there had been misinformation and a “serious breach of confidentiality”. It read: “A group of students staged a protest reportedly on the belief that a Vice-Chancellor has been made and it appears that the students have been misinformed. “It regrets what appears to be a serious breach of confidentiality as required in the proceedings of the joint committee.”
The press release also expressed the university’s concern that the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor should not be subjected to any pressure that would seriously harm the institution. Mr Solofa said that the council did not believe that there was any “hijacking” of the selection process.
Not being a member of the joint committee, he could not say what the procedures of the meeting were. Mr Solofa pointed out that the breach of confidentiality had an implication. “The only implication is that people bent on breaching confidentiality where confidentiality is called for will have to face disciplinary action and that is already provided for.
“Breaching this confidentiality requirement is a breach of the regulations,” he said. “People will continue to breach if they feel motivated, and if they they have a reason for doing so. “And that’s why we put regulations in place to deal with people who do that.”
Following the breach of confidentiality, the appointment of Vice- Chancellor, has been deferred to a later date. However, it is unclear when this will be. Asked whether Mr Solofa may have to continue in office after his term expires, he said: “My contract expires on the February 28, 2001, and that’s when I go”.
File created: 3 June 2000
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