Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The University of Technology (UTech) says a now deceased employee who applied for a salary loan in November last year did not indicate at the time that it was needed for a life-saving medical operation.
On Tuesday, a large number of the academic staff blocked access to the university through the main gate, protesting what they called the tardiness of the institution in the processing of loans.
President of the Academic Staff Union, Christopher Spencer, said a staff member who had requested a loan to undertake a life-saving medical procedure from November last year died on Monday.
In a message to the staff, obtained by our News Centre, UTech’s president Professor Errol Morrison said the deceased employee’s application was not approved because she did not pay off the requisite 50 per cent balance on a previous loan.
He asserted that at the time of the application there was no indication that the loan was needed for medical purposes.
He said this was despite the decision by the finance and business services division to prioritise medical and school costs in granting loans.
According to Professor Morrison, last Friday, the employee returned to the human resources office to report that she had failed to access other funding and explained the medical need.
He said upon hearing this, the division responded positively by formally supporting the application for funds to cover the medical procedure.
That operation was expected to take place later this month.
UTech has explained that it has been doing its best to process loans but encountered cash flow challenges late last year arising from unpaid tuition fees amounting to $800 million.
However, the Staff Union has rejected the explanation as falsehoods, arguing that the university reported last year that it had more than $2 billion in reserve.
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