Lecturers and professors at the Episcopal run Cuttington University in Suakoko District, Bong County on Thursday, September 14 laid down their chalks in demand of two months salary arrears.
Speaking to journalists last Thursday at his CU office, the President of the Cuttington University Faculty Association (CUFA), Mr. J. Lepolu Torlon, explained that about 20 CUFA members are disappointed as a result of the CU administration’s default to pay their two months’ arrears.
Mr. Torlon said in October 2016, lecturers and professors signed a ten-month contract, which is done at the beginning of every academic year, with the administration of the institution, but added that CUFA has noticed that the CU administration has reneged on its part of the agreement.
“The last contract we signed, the CU administration paid us for nine months instead of the regular ten months as stipulated in the contract, and there has been no explanation by the CU administration,” Mr. Torlon said.
The Cuttington University Faculty Association president said the CU administration is withholding the lecturers and professors’ salaries on grounds that they did not attend the teachers’ orientation workshop in August, before the school officially opened.
“Cuttington University is an institution of records, so you cannot punish people for what they are not informed about,” Mr. Torlon said.
He admitted that although they were conscious of the teachers’ orientation workshop, they were not informed of any consequences for people who stayed away, adding, “There is no rule in our faculty constitution or the CU policy to withhold teachers’ salaries if they don’t attend an orientation workshop.”
“There are always changes to the CU administration’s policies without the involvement of the lectures and professors; we think we are also playing imperative roles in the running of the school despite the fact that we are in the classroom,” the CUFA president said.
He maintained that his organization has written the CU administration about the teachers’ concerns, but the CU administration is yet to respond to them to ensure that the teachers return to the classroom.
An CU official who spoke to the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity admitted that the school administration is withholding the teachers’ salaries. He, however, said the administration will pay the arrears in a matter of days.
Some of the students who spoke with this newspaper described the situation as unfortunate and urged the administration to settle the arrears for the lecturers and professors to return to school.
In 2015, the school’s administration started increasing non-tuition fees to 25 percent every semester, which parents, guardians, and sponsors have complained about, owing to the present economic situation in the country.
Current registration fees stand at US$232.50, instead of the previous US$155.