5 Aug 2005

PNG university inquiry welcome - reports

3:23 pm on 5 August 2005

Reports from Papua New Guinea say there is general support for the appointment of an international team to investigate allegations about the protests at the University of Papua New Guinea over the past several weeks.

The protests, that included confrontations with police, ended a week ago when the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Leslie Eastcott, stepped aside to allow an inquiry to take place under caretaker management headed by Acting Vice-Chancellor Kenneth Sumbuk.

Students said they were upset about what they regard as the unfair application of a grading system, and other diverse issues.

Our correspondent, Peter Niesi, says the chairman of the inquiry team, Dr Thomas Webster, was to meet students today, to help work out a timetable for the inquiry.

Mr Niesi says the inquiry comes at a time when tensions on campus have been largely reduced.

He says people want to move on, but not before they've had some answers over the issue.

"For many it's a feeling of well let's have some justice done in relation to this. On the students' part, some of them are reeling over what they consider to be police brutality allegations, and so that needs to be looked at, and at the same time, members of the public are also concerned about why students took this course of action."

Peter Niesi.