No one is getting fired from the University of Belize! At least not yet. A meeting recently concluded between the Board of Trustees and members of the University of Belize Faculty and Students Union. The discussion surrounded several issues primarily the reopening of the new academic year. For over a week now both parties have gone head to head as the Board had set August 17 as the date for online classes to resume. The faculty disagreed and requested that the reopening be put off until September 7. According to the faculty, they felt that they needed more time to upload 15 weeks of curriculum material to the online platform. The Board disagreed saying that the online classes could begin with an orientation program and as the weeks progress the curriculum could be continuously uploaded online. The differences created an impasse and no classes were held yesterday. To add to the already contentious situation, when students tried logging on to the Moodle online program they found that the system had crashed, reportedly due to the high volume of online traffic. This gave the faculty another round of ammunition as they blamed the university for being unprepared. By the end of yesterday the Chairman of UB, Harrison Pilgrim fired off a 3-page letter highlighting several reasons why the Board did not find the arguments made by the faculty union members as being valid or warranting the delay for the reopening of the academic year. Perhaps the most alarming point made in the correspondence from the Chairman had to do with the options that the university would be exploring if the faculty and staff do not show up for classes. That portion of the letter reads, quote, “Under normal circumstances, if employees dictated to their bosses that they will not do the work they are being paid for, publicly admonish the employer and put the reputation of the institution in ill repute, that in itself would have amounted to the sufficiency for the Employer/UB to accept the employee’s resignation or terminate same on the ground of gross misconduct.” End of quote. Chairman Pilgrim added that if the faculty fails to commence full teaching duties the university will have no choice but to exercise its right within the Laws of Belize. The letter ended by advising the faculty that they should proceed with their teaching duties today for which they are being paid full salaries despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Our newsroom reached out to Chairman Pilgrim who had agreed to grant us an interview but that was put off as he was in meeting with the union up until late this evening. We are following the story and will bring you an update in our next newscast.
No one is getting fired from the University of Belize! At least not yet. A meeting recently concluded between the Board of Trustees and members of the University of Belize Faculty and Students Union. The discussion surrounded several issues primarily the reopening of the new academic year.