By ZACHERY PER
THE top managers of the University of Goroka have finally stepped aside, paving the way for a caretaker administration and an investigation team to move into office.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi, Pro-Vice Chancellors Associate Prof Michael Mel (academic) and Dr James Yoko (administration) stepped aside last weekend at the request of the university council.
Acting university council chairman Benias Sabumei confirmed the changes at the university campus yesterday.
“The top three managers have stepped aside,” Mr Sabumei said.
“The council met last Saturday and accepted their letters for them to step aside.”
He said the action was based on the directions of Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio after his meeting with student representatives in Port Moresby last week.
He said the Government’s interest was for the students to return to classes, and he further urged students at a campus meeting yesterday morning to resume classes.
The caretaker managers are David Hosea Avei (acting Vice-Chancellor), Dr Sam Najike (Pro-Vice Chancellor administration) and Dr P Jeyaranthran (Pro-Vice Chancellor academic).
But students and national staff members disputed their appointments, claiming that the caretaker managers were nominees and cronies of those sidelined. The staff and students wanted their nominees to be considered before they could return to classes.
Students, members of the National Academic Staff Association (NASA) and Non-Academic National Staff Association (NANSA) and others stakeholders would this week elect their representatives to the council.
Mr Sabumei said by Friday, a full 16-member university council would meet to appoint a chancellor, set up an investigation team, endorse the terms of references (TOR) and deliberate on other issues.
He called on students and staff members to assist them frame the TOR for investigations to take place.
Students have boycotted classes for seven weeks.
With the first semester ending next week, a major rescheduling of classes will have to take place to save the academic year, senior chemistry lecturer Dr John Banda said.