17 Nov 2005

Dumping of PNG university management team is overturned by the National Court

5:05 pm on 17 November 2005

Papua New Guinea's Higher Education Minister has been legally restrained from sacking the University of PNG's Australian Vice-Chancellor and the entire University Council.

The Minister, Don Polye, announced the sackings on Monday following the Cabinet's acceptance of recommendations from a committee investigating violent student unrest at the university's Port Moresby campus in July.

But PNG's National Court has granted an ex-parte injunction to the council and other plaintiffs pending a judicial review of the minister's decisions.

Lawyers acting for the plaintiffs argued Mr Polye had acted beyond his powers, in breach of natural justice and in an unreasonable, harsh and oppressive manner.

During the unrest at the university, classes were suspended for weeks as students clashed with police and security guards over their claims the university's grading policy was unfair and Professor Eastcott was to blame.

Professor Eastcott said he had not downgraded students' marks but the grading policy was necessary to raise the university's academic standards to international levels.

The investigating committee's report stated that the continued presence of Professor Eastcott would lead to further unrest and it was imperative his contract be terminated.