Update No 2 on Developments in Fiji and USP
17 April 2009
Dear Pro Chancellor, Ministers and Members of Council
I write to update all of you on the situation at the University since my last communication.
The situation at the University and in Fiji remains calm and peaceful. The announcement of 20 percent devaluation is causing some anxiety both among staff and students. The University is studying its impact and will present a report to the upcoming meeting of the Finance and Investments Committee.
This week has been the mid-semester break, but students are around and going about their business as usual.I have had discussions with the Staff Association to brief them. I have assured them that we can go about our normal activities as before, but that like all people in Fiji we need to exercise care and caution. There is no interference from the Fiji government in our normal activities.
I have also had a discussion with representatives of the Students Association. I have similarly briefed them. The students raised two issues that we agreed to take up. First, they have asked us to indicate to all sponsors that with the devaluation, costs would rise and sponsors should consider adjusting allowances paid to them. I would encourage governments and other sponsors to consider this sympathetically. Secondly, students have expressed a strong view that the University should provide more on-campus student accommodation. This is already contained as a priority in the draft Strategic Plan. We will fast-track this initiative on a self-funding basis.
My assessment remains the same—the University operates as normal. There is no risk to students or staff at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. If there is any change at all in this assessment, I will take immediate action and update all of you.
In the meantime, my immediate priority is to ensure the safety of students and staff and the normal operation of our regional University.
Professor Rajesh Chandra