Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor & President addresses students at the Forum.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) hosted the first Vice-Chancellor’s first Student Forum at the Laucala Campus on 25 April 2019.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor & President extended a warm welcome to the students saying it was a pleasure to be able to meet with them directly to hear their concerns and emphasised his open-door policy.
With regards to the use of computers at the labs, he mentioned that ITS staff have been instructed to check all labs twice a day to ensure access to computing facilities. Students were also requested to promptly report any issues with ITS so that they are addressed immediately to avoid disruptions to their learning.
With regards to support for PDLP students with special needs, Professor Ahluwalia said he would discuss with the School of Law on ways to assist special needs students during the intensive PDLP programme.
On Campus security, Professor Ahluwalia assured students that management was working with IT and Commercial department to address safety concerns for both students and staff. He also sought cooperation from students in terms of reporting suspicious persons within the Campus.
Professor Ahluwalia also confirmed that the University is continuously working to improve facilities through Campus Life.
With regards to the state and use of the gym and pool facilities including toilets, the University Management assured students that this will be addressed immediately once the University appoints a Director Commercial.
It was also confirmed that Management will look into a request for additional scholarships to cater for a carer/ buddy who assist special needs students since they are available for only few hours but are needed for longer periods of time.
With regards to the prevention of harassment, Professor Ahluwalia assured students that the University has zero-tolerance for it and such cases were handled centrally by the University’s Discipline Committee, if a formal complaint was made. A hotline (1567) has been established for use by both staff and students.
As well, he commented that a policy to prevent bullying and sexual harassment has been approved and implemented and to complement this, awareness sessions and interactive workshops were being rolled out.
An Action Plan to address issues raised will be drawn up and reported to the next Student Forum as well as through regular reporting avenues. The second Student Forum will be held in Semester 2.
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