Jermaine Francis, Gleaner Writer
The University of Technology's (UTech) top brass is rubbishing criticisms of bad governance and has threatened that it may be taking action against the UTech Academic Staff Union (UTASU) and the UTech Administrative Support Staff Association (UTASSA).
Acting president of the university, Professor Nkrumah-Young, said an advertisement endorsed by the two unions in The Sunday Gleaner was filled with inaccurate information.
As a result, he told The Gleaner, "We will be doing more than rubbishing the claims; we are examining our options and we will be taking appropriate action."
The ad noted that the two unions had lost confidence in UTech's management and called on the university to answer several questions, including how the institution managed to accumulate a deficit of $100 million in one year.
However, Nkrumah-Young dismissed this question as baseless, adding that the university had, in fact, amassed a surplus in the last financial year.
"That is incorrect. No such thing! At the end of the financial year ending March 2013, the university had a surplus of $22 million, and between 2004 and 2013, the university only recorded a deficit in three years," he said.
The acting president also dismissed another suggestion by the unions that UTech was spending $60 million annually in commitment fees.
Nkrumah-Young said UTech had to pay $41 million to the Caribbean Development Bank in commitment fees over a three-year period for a US$23-million loan to construct the hospitality management faculty and carry out other upgrades on the campus.
Addressing the question surrounding the university's employment policy, he noted, "Outside of its statute, the university has the right to employ all other staff to fill other offices to carry out its function."
However, Meredith Williams, secretary of the UTASU, which staged a protest last Thursday that led to the cancellation of classes on UTech's Kingston campus, said the unions were standing firmly behind all that was posted in the ad.
He said any misunderstanding between the ad and the facts could easily be clarified with a report.
"We want to get a full report into how the university's money is being spent," Williams said.
"We are trying to save the university, so if they want to take action, let them do that," he added.