Vice Chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia is still operating the affairs of the University of the South Pacific from Samoa and receives a $4,300 weekly per diem every time he conducts a meeting at the Laucala Campus in Suva.
Revealing this to FijiLive, President of the USP Staff Association, Elizabeth Fong said a huge amount is accumulated by this move.
Fong said the head of any institution is supposed to operate from its headquarters and for the University of the South Pacific; it is working from its Laucala Campus.
Fong said since 2021, Prof Ahluwalia has been working out of Samoa together with his Chief Operating Officer (COO) who oversees the areas of Policy & Planning, Quality, Institutional Research & Data, Human Resources, ITS, Japan-Pacific ICT Centre & Regional ICT Outreach, Libraries and USP Commercial.
“It is a USP Council decision and the Council has to direct him to come back. In May, we had written to the Council and recommended Prof Ahluwalia and his COO to be relocated back to Suva.”
“The feedback was that people thought USP is too Fiji centric, but what people don’t think, wherever you have headquarters, you will have the leaders present there,” Fong said.
She said they had submitted a Paper to the USP Council which was turned down by the Pro Chancellor, because it did not meet the 21-days requirement notice for this Council Meeting.
Fong said they had already given a six-month notice when the matter was brought up in the May Meeting, as an agenda item.
“We are still not sure whether it is in the agenda for today’s meeting or not. And the longer the Vice-Chancellor stays in Samoa and conducts the affairs of the university from there, the more costly it is for USP to cough up the money.”