26 Jun 2019

USP Pro Chancellor says no need to recuse

5:53 pm on 26 June 2019

The Pro Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific (USP), Winston Thompson, says there's no reason for him to recuse himself while there's an investigation going on into abuse of power allegations.

University South Pacific.

University South Pacific. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of staff have signed a petition calling for him to withdraw as the chair of the university council which has initiated the probe.

A leaked report by the new Vice Chancellor reported claims of mismanagement and questionable staff appointments at the university over several years.

The petitioners said Mr Thompson's recent public statements against the university's new Vice Chancellor are "unprofessional, prejudicial and damaging" to the university.

The investigation is being led by USP's audit and risk committee.

The committee is expected to select a firm to conduct the investigation this week.

Meanwhile, some USP staff are happy the alleged corruption is out in the open.

An associate professor of history at the university, Morgan Tuimaleali'ifano, said many staff had suspected processes were not being followed but were not able to prove it.

The contents of the leaked report is not surprising, he said.

"It returned some sense of lightness, of encouragement that there is an opportunity, there is a chance that something can be done, that things can come out and that what we are teaching about transparency accountability and so on it can happen. That was what we were very, very happy about."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs