Sunday 18 August, 2019

Three UTT guild members step down due to silence over restructuring

Members of the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) Student’s Guild have taken a stance against what they described as the unsatisfactory handling of the school's current financial situation, and have opted to resign.

Three out of four members have stepped down over the lack of consultation as it relates to the school’s restructuring, as well as the alleged interference into the student guild’s affairs by the school’s administration.

Guild President Kamal Hunt, speaking with Loop TT, said it was unfair that students were finding out about the school’s developments via the media.

He said this is raising tensions across the university’s 10 campuses.

“Students are crying, you’re hearing programmes closing here, there and everywhere and we are the voice of the students and we are not being heard,” he said. 

Hunt also alleged that the student guild was struggling to maintain its independence as they were battling with a meddling school executive. He said, as a result, efforts were made to contact the School Board but, to no avail.

“They are trying to control the student guild so they would have infiltrated the chapter guild which spreads across to the 10 universities because they can’t control us as we have strong leaders. Because of the infiltration of the guild, we would have been reaching out to the board of governors themselves and they have not been receptive to our request. They have not even been responsive to our request."

“Since 2016, requests were sent to see the chairman of the board and another request was made in June 2017, further to that, another request was made to the vice chairman who was supposed to get back to us, to no avail. Requests were also issued to meet the chair and the deputy.”

The student guild is now only made up of Vice President Shelly-Gay Barnett as both the Secretary, Chandini Chickooree, and PRO, Aliya Mohammed, have stepped down.

Hunt says they hope this would demonstrate that the guild is in support of the general student body adding that he hopes their decision inspires a reaction from UTT’s board.

“Our hope is for the Board, for consultation to happen because while we understand there is the urgency to cut back the restraints of the university, there is a better way for it to happen. You don’t want to find out what is going on with the programme via the media. As it stands right now, the administration is lost, the student population is lost and we are basically seeing things via the media."

"We are not in support of how things are happening this moment and we hope that this stance will show that we stand in solidarity with the students and we would like the executive to take a different approach.”

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