Categorized | National News

COB Opens With No President

The fall 2014 semester at the College of The Bahamas (COB) is set to begin today, but on Sunday students, teachers and faculty members expressed grave concerns that the institution is beginning yet another semester with no president at the helm.

In a press release issued yesterday by representatives of the Union of Tertiary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB), Public Managers Union (PMU), Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU), and The College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS), the bodies called on government officials to finally make a decision on the controversial matter.

COB officials said today not only marks the start of the academic year but it also marks the 40th year of existence for the institution.

“And, yet, at the start of what should be an exciting and historic chapter in the institution’s development, employees and students are still at a loss about the direction that their institution is headed under the present leadership,” the statement read. “Unsure as to why the new president has not yet been approved and appointed, faculty, staff, and students are all gravely concerned by this sad state of affairs.

The representatives of the unions want to know what plans the minister of education has for the institution when the doors open on August 18. On August 18th, morale among faculty, staff, and students – all who are closely watching this debacle play out – will most certainly be at an all-time low. Signs of unease and tension are already surfacing within the institution. The employees and students of COB all want to know who will be leading the college to its goal of university status.”

Over the past few months the college’s presidency has been at the centre of much debate after the COB Council recommended that Dr. Rodney Smith be selected to head the institution.

Dr. Smith resigned as COB president in 2005 after admitting to plagiarising a portion of a New York University (NYU) president’s speech.

The college’s student and faculty unions said in the release Sunday that the presidential search started more than a year ago and the council’s decision on who should be president was announced more than two months ago.

“August 18, will make it 67 days since the minister received the governing body’s recommendation and yet the employees and students of the institution have not heard from the minister as to his decision,” the statement continued. “After having what appeared to be an open, honest, and productive discussion with the minister of education at the House of Assembly on August 6 as to his decision on the presidency of the College of The Bahamas, employee and student representatives are very disappointed that they continue to remain in limbo at the start of the 2014 academic school year.

“Can COB’s faculty, staff, and students still expect to be stagnating, barely making it, for the next academic year because they will still not have the competent, visionary, sufficiently experienced, systematic leader that was promised at the start of the presidential search process?”

The students and staff said the administrative team now leading COB has an “outdated” modus operandi.

“In the coming days, we are looking for the minister to show some courtesy and respect to the institution’s majority stakeholders by informing us of his answer by way of a decision – whatever that decision is,” they said.

“Show us, the faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents of COB students, the wider Bahamian community – and the College Council itself – that the democratic search process undertaken by the government-appointed College Council has some integrity and means something to this government.”

More than 1,600 new COB students are expected to participate in orientation exercises with classes set to begin next Monday.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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