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UTG senior staff complain of delayed promotions

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By Tabora Bojang

Senior members of UTG academic staff have accused the administration under the vice chancellor of unjustifiably delaying promotions for the year 2023 even after the submission of recommendations by the promotions committee several months ago.

In a petition shared with The Standard, senior lecturer and former UTG staff president Dr Alieu Gibba and Dr Matarr Njie, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics and Finance, explained that since May 2023, a call for promotion was made in which a number of Gambians applied for various academic ranks.

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“A promotion committee constituted by the UTG Management did finalise and submit its recommendations to vice chancellor Professor Herbert Robinson but he seems reluctant for some unknown reasons, to validate the recommendations for both academic and administrative staff,” the duo alleged.

They said the ‘unjustifiable’ delay of the 2023 promotions is further compounded by the fact that another call has been made for promotion for the year 2024 meaning the administration now has two years promotions to decide on. ”The affected academic staff have repeatedly written to Professor Robinson, asking him to let them know their fate without success. This is unfair as it violates every rule in the book, including the UTG Condition of Service.”

They further alleged discrimination against some staff, who they alleged have terminal degrees and 20 journal publications but are still serving as assistant lecturers, while others without journal publications were promoted to associate and full professors.

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They said staff believed to be friendly or close to the management were quickly promoted from the rank of an Assistant Lecturer to Full Professor within a span of four to five years, contradicting the Condition of Service of the UTG which dictates that all promotions be based on merit in terms of research and publications.

Dr Gibba and Dr Njie further charged that “frustration and lack of motivation” from the UTG management have triggered several staff to quit the University.

They warned that “a number of academic staff affected by the unjustifiable promotion delay are considering taking legal action against the University Council, Vice Chancellor and the University”.

The Standard contacted the chairman of the promotion committee, Professor Sidat Yaffa, who confirmed that his committee has reviewed the 2023 applications and submitted their recommendations to the management.

Reacting to these allegations, Vice Chancellor Herbert Robinson confirmed receiving the recommendations of the promotion committee but denied any irregularities and or allegations of foot-dragging the process.

“University processes sometimes take time because everything has to be scrutinised. So the committee has a role to review and make recommendations and I too have a role to review and make recommendations to the Governing Council. One cannot predict how long these processes will take because it depends on time, how busy we are and other issues,” he said.

According to the VC last year, the UTG was busy inaugurating Faraba Campus in addition to many issues. “So I have to take my time to review the recommendations and if I have questions I ask and sometimes that takes back and forth procedures,” VC Robinson stated.

He said the recommendations are still under review and not yet submitted to the Governing Council.

Asked if applicants can still apply for the 2024 promotions despite not knowing their fate, he said they can apply for the 2024 promotions while 2023 is being reviewed.

“If they are successful for 2023, we set aside their 2024 applications. It is simple,” he said

The VC said there is nothing in the UTG Conditions of Service which says (promotions) got to happen at a particular time. “What we have is once a decision is made every appointment is backdated to October 1st of the year. So nobody loses. We have taken staff welfare and development seriously but it has to be done properly so that everybody is treated fairly.”

The Vice Chancellor vehemently dismissed allegations of favouritism as “baseless and false” and challenged the petitioners to bring out evidence.

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