29 Jul 2005

PNG university head defends stance against protesting students

3:27 pm on 29 July 2005

The Chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea has defended the university's staunch response to protesting students, as the Government moves to suspend him and other university managers.

Teresia Kumo, a media officer for the Prime Minister, says the Cabinet decided yesterday to suspend the chancellor, Andrew Yauieb; the vice-chancellor, Leslie Eastcott, and three other administrators.

Miss Kumo says the Acting Minister for Higher Education, Don Polye, received students' approval for the move when he told them yesterday.

Mr Polye was to inform the University Council today.

Mr Yauieb said early today that he was awaiting a briefing on the Minister's remarks, but expressed concern that the Government could be interfering in university affairs, against the spirit of the law.

Mr Yauieb said the dispute over student grading was not worsening.

"No it is not. It's not the majority it's a minority, and we can't let thugs run this country and allow anarchy to take over."

But, asked if he supported the police actions in using teargas against the students, amid reports of serious injuries, Mr Yauieb said he had no reports on these matters and could not comment.