Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Money woes rock IUC

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2019 | 12:06 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Acting President of the International University of the Caribbean (IUC) Dr Makesha Evans says she is upset by unsavoury sentiments from aggrieved members of the faculty and is disputing claims that the troubled college has been callous in its dealings with staff or students.

Though she did not deny the many challenges facing the 14-year-old institution, Evans said that the IUC, which was founded in 2005, is now on a path of financial recovery after years of hiccups that adversely impacted its ability to meet some of its obligations in a timely fashion.

“This has, in turn, led to disappointment on the part of some of our stakeholders. However, I dispute the position that IUC has been callous,” she said.

Evans was responding to queries from The Gleaner on the state of affairs at the college after another employee threatened legal action to recover monies owed to her.

The acting president said that notwithstanding the challenges, IUC’s prime focus, particularly in the past few years, has been working to rebuild trust and to honour its commitments, adding that nothing else was intended. She said that in-depth reviews of IUC’s financial systems have been done to ensure greater responsiveness and that the college is now making payments to staff on a daily basis.

Promising improvements

“I am clear that we can demonstrate considerable improvement in this regard, and while this rebuilding process will take time, I welcome dialogue with your complainant both to hear and address his/her concerns,” Evans said.

“The mission of the United Church in Jamaica and The Cayman Islands and the university has fundamentally been to provide opportunities for especially Jamaicans who would not have otherwise been able to access tertiary education.

“Many of our students are financially vulnerable, and this, in turn, creates significant vulnerability for IUC. However, the university and the church are redoubling efforts to aggressively address the institution’s debts so that it can more effectively serve the Jamaican community.

“I am reiterating my interest in speaking with this individual regarding their observations with a view to restoring relationship and bringing a peaceful resolution to their concerns about us,” Evans said.

The IUC was founded by The United Church in Jamaica and The Cayman Islands in November 2005.

One disgruntled staff member castigated the college over what she claimed was its “long-standing and outrageous record of financial and administrative challenges, scandals, mismanagement, and deceit, which have had a very negative impact on both staff and students since its very beginning back in 2005”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the long-serving faculty member urged that the institution shutter its doors and “compensate those persons affected by its behaviour or else face legal action”.

In 2014, several staff members went public with their discontentment with the college’s administration over non-payment of salaries.