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'Ilifeleti Tovo fined, gagged
23 April 2008

By: Fiji Sun Online

The University of the South Pacific Student Association’s president has been fined and imposed with certain restrictions for publicly criticizing the salaries of executive members of the university.
Ilifeleti Tovo was warned by the Student Disciplinary Committee not to talk to the media about the outcome of the disciplinary hearing.
Mr Tovo’s legal representative Jolame Uludole confirmed that Mr Tovo was fined. He declined to divulge any further information.
“We have been warned not to divulge anything. This is a serious issue,’’ he said.
“You have to speak to the communication department. He has been fined and some restrictions have been placed on him but apart from that. I am not in any position to reveal anything.”
It is believed the disciplinary hearing was regarding comments made by Mr Tovo in this newspaper on the hefty salaries paid to the USP executive staff.
There were allegations that eight USP executive staff were paid more than $2 million for their annual salaries, housing allowances and other payments were reported recently.
The salary packages of the four faculty deans, deputy vice-chancellor, the registrar and two other executive members amounted to $2,128.365.97.
A response had yet to be received from the USP media office Andrea Waqa on the matter. Emails sent to her and voice messages remained unanswered.
In earlier interviews, Mr Tovo strongly criticised the salary range of the staff.


USP students body call off protest
23 April 2008

By: Radio Australia

Students of the University of the South Pacific have cancelled a planned protest and are now willing to discuss issues of concern with the institution’s top brass.

Earlier today, Pacific News Service reported that USP students were preparing a mass protest after the institute's registrar refused to resign.

Student association President Steven Maesiola says the protest is most likely to take place next week.

But he's refused to detail problems the students association has with registrar Walter Fraser.

Reports suggest students at the campus are unhappy with some of the stringent laws introduced by Fraser.

The student association gave Fraser a two-week deadline to resign, which ended on Sunday.

Maesiola told Radio Fiji News they have been in discussion this morning and have agreed to continue dialogue.




USP Protest Looms
23 April 2008

By: Fiji Sun

The University of the South Pacific Student Association (USPSA) is now preparing a mass protest after university registrar, Walter Fraser did not give into the students bodys demand that he resign.

USPSA vice president Steven Maesiola told the Fiji Sun newspaper that they were now preparing for a protest which was most likely to take place next week.

While, he refused to reveal what are some of the problems USPSA had with Mr Fraser, he said their president Ilifeleti Tovo was handling the matter.

The deadline has now passed and we are preparing what we are going to do about that, Mr Maesiola said.

Students at the campus said some of the stringent laws imposed by Mr Fraser took their privileges away.

Third-year student Vasemaca Seresere said they were stopped from using the USP lounge for relaxing and were not allowed holding essay debates or lectures at the pavilions and lounges.

While it is fine that we have to have our pool card to use the swimming pool, but stopping students from using the lounge and then stopping groups from gathering at certain areas to hold debates and other activities is not fine, Ms Seresere said.

Pacnews had earlier reported USPSA had given Mr Fraser a two-week deadline to resign, which ended on Sunday.

A media statement released by USPs public relations office defended Mr Walter, saying the USPSA President wanted to promote grog drinking sessions and other activities until early into the next morning, which the university could not accept.


Issues Raised Over USP $2m Wages
22 April 2008

By: Solomon Times Online

The University of the South Pacific (USP) paid more than $2m a year in salary for eight staff and this has raised concerns.

According to the Fiji Sun, one of Fiji's daily newspapers, 'the salary packages of the four faculty deans, deputy vice-chancellor and the registrar amounts to $2,128.365.97', a figure that 'prompted a university advisory board member to call on Transparency International to look into this matter'.

The article by the Fiji Sun states that 'USP Advisory Council West member Prue Rouse said that three years ago the salary of the registrar was $90,000' and that the 'current salary scale of the executive staff of USP was not suited for a third world developing country, like Fiji'.

'"When you start getting more then $250,000 in a third world developing country, that just means that something is not right," she said'.

Ms. Rouse said that the failure of USP's management to reply to the issue 'was showing that they were trying to duck and dive through the issue' and she wondered why the international community has not taken a closer look at how the university's funds are used.

'USP Student Association president Ilifeleti Tovo said: "The burden of these extravagant salaries fall on the students. We condemn the entire salary package of all the executive staff at the university."'

The USPSA had earlier threatened a protest if the university's registrar did not resign. One of the issues raised was the recent increase in accommodation fees.
Mr. Tovo said that 'USPSA was condemning the extravagant salary scale of all the executive staff and not only the registrar'.

According to Fiji Sun 'the Pro Vice Chancellor Academic and Research are paid $247,737.55 each, Dean for the Faculty of Business Economic and Dean for the Faculty of Science and Technology are paid $274,770.38 each, Dean of Faculty of Island and Oceania gets $260,937.55 and the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Law is paid $247,737.55.
The highest a professor receives at USP is $115,000'.



USP Facing Student Unrest
22 April 2008

By: Solomon Times Online

There have been reports of unrest in the University of the South Pacific (USP) campus in Suva, Fiji, as a result of issues between student and the Registrar.

According to Fiji's daily online newspaper, the Fiji Times Online, students want the Registrar, Walter Fraser, removed with Students Association President, 'Ilifeleti Tovo, saying they want Mr. Fraser gone by next week.

The article also states that the USP Students Association has said that 'they would protest outside Mr. Fraser's office if their request was not granted' and would 'not settle for anything other than Mr. Fraser's removal but assured members would only undertake non-violent protests'.

The problems seemed to have arisen out of what Mr. Tovo claims are unnecessary regulations being implemented by the Registrar which disrupt the 'free movement of students and access to essential areas on campus' along with other issues from the previous year such as the raising of accommodation fees from $600 to $900 per semester. Mr. Tovo added that 'Mr. Fraser was very un-cooperative and "blocked a lot of our activities"'.

Meanwhile, the article adds that USP spokeswoman, Andrea Waqa, said they needed time to respond to queries but that Mr. Fraser 'was appointed by the USP Council and was the custodian of all statutes, regulations and rules' and that 'rules were there to preserve the rights of all students in an environment conducive to study'.




Message from USP Student Association President.
17 April 2008

On behalf of the University of the South Pacific Student Association (USPSA), allow me a humble greeting to everyone and welcome to all the new entrants to the University of the South Pacific for the year 2008.

It is my privilege to inform you that the USPSA has taken the initiative this year to rekindle its relationship with the students. It anticipates a closer interaction, with a complete cohesion, between the association's various agencies and the students in pursuing an environment where harmony and fellowship prevail. Not only amongst the students but also in our relationship with the university. Unto that destination lies the objective of which the association will pursue to achieve its various goals for this year.

Despite the challenges that are ahead of us, the association does not loose focus of its objectives and its priorities of providing services that would not only enhance and promote the interests of the students but to facilitate and assist students learning in whatever aspect that the association might be called upon while striving to achieve excellence in our various fields of studies. It is willing with its agencies to devote as much of our spare time as possible to serve with the best of our abilities the interests of the students regardless of ethnicity, races, religion and cultures.

In contemplation of a more closely working relationship this year to promote the social, intellectual, cultural and academic affairs of the USP students, USPSA is ready and enjoined with various responsibilities to fulfill these objectives and to carry out various activities committed to their officers’ tasks for the betterment of all.

I therefore wish everyone an enjoyable academic year and an enriching one.

Respectfully,

Mr. ‘Ilifeleti Tovo

USPSA President.



USPSA Achievements
17 April 2008

By: Douglas Ngau Chun

This is a brief account of the achievements that the current Executives team achieved since the day they came into office. Some of were works carried forward from the previous Executives

- After taking it to the USP Senior Management last year, students can now just stays in the Halls (on campus) without the meals from the Dining Hall. They only pay for accommodation only with meals optional.

- Hot water urns are now put up at the White Tables area for students who usually study there at night. This was requested of USP after students requested for hot water during the exam weeks last semester.

- After much deliberations with ITS, they agreed to increase the students’ monthly internet quotas.

- USPSA managed to change the decision by the Senate regarding the University’s “No Smoking” policy which they were to implement this year. To date, students can still smoke on campus as this policy was not passed.

- There were various fraud cases in the past and the Council has appointed a n Investigation Team to work on it.

- Computers were also provided for all of the USPSA offices and new ones for the Student Service Center.

- USPSA accommodated various counselors and sponsors/agents with a room for private consultation with their students.

- The on campus students complained last year about the Halls hosting Fiji Rugby Union players in two blocks in the 1st halls. The dining hall was also partitioned for a dining venue for these rugby players. After meeting with the USP Senior Management, this matter was resolved and no more FRU players staying on campus.

- USPSA hosted reconciliation Sports Day for the Tongan and the Samoan students last year after a few clashes.

- Improve the running of USPSA in the transitional period.

- Control and avoid all forms of corruption from the student association.

- STOP student loaning from USPSA grant.

- Manage to get a profit from USPSA Social Night (FD$3,000); the profit was then spent for free BBQ for all USP Students.

- Host our own orientation for the first time and avoid USP taking FD$16,000 from Association Grant for there Orientation.

Please note that most of these achievements were initiated with the complains that came from you students. We are here for you and unless you come to us, we would not know. Keep the complains coming and we will see to them. Remember, we are here for you!



What USPSA is all about?
17 April 2008

by: Lilu Moala-Ngau Chun

USPSA? Sounds familiar? Does it ring any bell? Well, if no or not really is your answer then this newsletter is your insider’s guide into USPSA. Not the gossips from your roommates or the misleading information from the student newspaper.

USPSA is the abbreviation for USP Students Association. It is the student body which is administered by elected students.

Vision
Our Vision is to create an open and collaborative environment while serving as a liaison between students and USP. In addition, we shall use our leadership skills to empower the students by increasing student involvement in decision making processes and serve as resource for students. We will provide a state of the art facility with student-centered educational, cultural, religious, sports, welfare and development, social programs and develop a spirited and proud student body that actively participate in the campus, local and global community.

Mission
Our mission is to support and promote the USP in its pursuits of excellence in teaching, research and public service for the sake of students’ educational development and to foster a spirit of loyalty, involvement and lifelong commitment to the students and the USP community.

We will provide experiences, services and programs for all members of USPSA and opportunities for citizenship, social responsibility, and leadership development of the people we sere through cultural, social, educational and recreational, religious, international and community relations and welfare and development programs. USPSA complements the academic programs and enhances the overall educational experience and quality of campus life for students.

Objectives
According to the USPSA Constitution, the Association have the following objectives;

- To promote the general welfare of its members

-To assist the organization of sports, cultural, recreational, religious and educational activities for its members

- To exercise general control over all activities for the benefit of the community at large and charitable organizations

- To make representations on behalf of its members to the University Council or other relevant bodies on any matter affecting its members.

- To articulate and implement policies, positions or statements on academic, social or other issues of concern to its members.

Members
Membership of USPSA is compulsory for all the students. Any registered student of the University upon payment of the subscription fee (General Services Fees) each semester is automatically a member of the Association. Note that the whole amount you pay as General Services fees do not come wholly to USPSA. Only some of it. The rest remains with USP.

So, if you have registered and have paid your General Services fees you are a member of the Association now. Therefore, you have every right to USPSA. To begin with, you have the right to know. That, we hope this newsletter will keep you informed.

To be continued...



 

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