29 Jul 2005

PNG government to suspend university administrators over student row

1:53 pm on 29 July 2005

A Papua New Guinea Government spokeswoman says the Cabinet is suspending the administration of the embattled University of PNG and will tell university leaders this today.

This comes amid a row between the university, staff and students that's centred on student concerns about what they regard as the unfair application of a grading system.

A dusk-to-dawn campus curfew remains in place following clashes on Monday involving teargas.

The Prime Minister's acting media officer, Teresia Kumo, says the Government told students yesterday it's suspending Chancellor Andrew Yauieb, Vice-Chancellor, Leslie Eastcott, and three others.

Miss Kumo says they are suspended pending an inquiry into allegations made by students and staff.

The membership and terms of reference of the inquiry are to be announced later today by the Acting Higher Education Minister, Don Polye.

Miss Kumo says students applauded the announcement and have agreed to return to classes on Monday, although the curfew and police presence on campus will remain.

The Chancellor, Mr Yauieb, says he's seeking details and the Government may be breaching the university's statutory independence.

"Well I've got to see the decision and be given some brief on the address before I can make any further comment. It may amount of nothing, but on the other hand, if it does, it does imply on the people acting not in the spirit of the Act of Parliament in establishing the university."

Andrew Yauieb.