Saturday, May 25, 2013

FUTA rejects new Colombo VC

Ceylon Today, 25/05/2013

By Aisha Nazim

Aggravating a simmering dispute over the appointment of a Vice Chancellor for the University of Colombo, university dons and the Federation of University Teachers' Associations (FUTA) have refused to accept the appointment of
Dr. Kumar Hirimburegama, spouse of the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC), as the new Vice Chancellor.

Dr. Hirimburegama's appointment as Vice Chancellor was announced on Thursday evening by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
FUTA claims the appointment was clearly politically motivated in the light that other candidates, who had applied for the post, were more suitable.

The academics employed by the University of Colombo will not accept Dr. Hirimburegama as their Vice Chancellor, FUTA President
Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said.
"We can assure you that we will not accept this appointment. We will boycott meetings that will be chaired by him and refrain from responding to official correspondence," Dr. Devasiri told Ceylon Today.“We will also give him some time to step down. Though it technically is a legal appointment, it is not a proper appointment. And we will definitely continue our struggle against this,” he added.

Dr. Devasiri said the Colombo University Teachers’ Union will be convened on Monday (27) to decide on further course of action.
He pointed out as there was a more suitable candidate for the vacancy, the appointment of Dr. Hirimburegama as the Vice Chancellor was ‘most unsuitable,’ especially as he is the spouse of the current UGC Chairperson.
However, the Ministry of Higher Education maintained to Ceylon Today the final decision of the appointment was up to President Rajapaksa, who would select the most suitable of the three candidates to fill the post.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Nandimithra Ekanayake, denied political motivations in backing the nominees. Ministry Spokesperson, Mangala Janaka, said likewise.
UGC Chairperson, Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, was unavailable for comment.

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