By Landing Ceesay
The UTG faculty and staff association appealed to students not to interfere with its proposed sit-down strike because it will backfire on them [student] if they do.
The faculty and staff association earlier on Tuesday made these remarks at a press conference convened at UTG MDI campus on the state of affairs at the University and the challenges it poses to the development and governance structure of the highest learning institute.
“So we are appealing to the students to stay away completely not to be used by the management. The moment we discovered that is going to backfire. We are their lecturers they need us for their recommendation letters, they need us in the future to guide them, they need us every time. Let the student council don’t allow to be used by the management or the governing council of the UTG to counter the decision of the staff. Industrial action is their right according to the Constitution. So the moment students are used to counter our decision [it] is going to backfire on the students.
“We are mentioning all these so that the public now can know what is going [on] in the UTG. Normally they can use the students to counter our decision and [it] is going to add salt to the problem. Students have their student welfare. The staff, we have our staff welfare. the staff association, more than 160 staff have attended our extraordinary Congress only four out of more than 160 staff voted against the industrial action we are about to make. That means 96% of the staff have agreed because they have seen the problem. We cannot have an interim governing council for four years; it is not helping the University.
“Students let them stay away from this matter; we are working for the students. All these demands are for the benefit of students, not for us [staff]. So students should not be used as tools and they should advise their union not to be used as tools by the University management or the governing council to counter our decision [planned staff strike]. We are warning them to stay away from this matter,” Dr Alieu Gibba, UTG faculty and staff association President said.
He listed some of the challenges, which are hampering teaching and learning at the more than 2 decades old university.
“There are a lot of problems that the UTG is facing, lack of projectors in the classrooms, the environment is not conducive, students are not even benefiting- they graduate with empty heads. Most of the students are not benefiting anything from the university education because the lecturers are not equipped. Sometimes internet problems. Recently, the Cambridge University, they [are] supposed to have an online lecture with the students here [at] the UTG. But they warned them that your internet is bad, we cannot continue with you in this lecture so they lost that opportunity,” President Gibba added.
He informed that the faculty and staff are not striking for themselves but for the benefit of the students of the institute; saying the library they are demanding is in the interest of the students not the staff.
The association informed that they would commence a sit-down strike on 1st of July, 2021, if their demands are not met by the management, the UTG end of semester examinations scheduled for that will not hold.
Some of the major demands they put forward include: The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology [MoHERST] to fully pay the D150M arrears it owed UTG; Dissolution of the Interim Governing Council and replace it with a ‘substantive’ one after 4 years; UTG registrar to completely handover Human Resource administration to UTG HR Director and the later to report to the Deputy Vice Chancellor and/or the Vice Chancellor; replacement of retired or Acting Deans and Heads of Department; the position of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Admin & Finance be advertised; the advertisement of the position of the Vice Chancellor be halted until due procedures are followed, etc.
Kerr Fatou will make an effort to get the response of the university management and the student’ union for publication.