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Monday, September 25, 2023

UTG staff demand parliamentary inquiry into grades scandal

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By Tabora Bojang

The University of the Gambia Faculty and Staff Association has demanded a parliamentary inquiry into allegations of grade’s tampering at the university.

Allegations of grades tampering by some university staff in “exchange for sex or money” surfaced in April this year, sending shock waves across the country.

A fact-finding panel instituted to investigate the allegations submitted its report to the University’s Disciplinary Committee for considerations and recommendations with the Governing Council approving it. The report found out that 60 students are implicated in the scandal, majority of whom will have their grades reversed while several others will have their transcripts recalled and revoked.  Four staff members who are also implicated were dismissed with one banned for 15 years.

Days after these measures were announced by the university authorities, the staff association through its secretary general Yerro Njie shared a write-up with The Standard, demanding swift parliamentary action and argued there might be even more serious aspects to the issue than what was disclosed to the public.

“The association believes that the reported number of 60 implicated students might not accurately reflect the extent of these scandals. We want a more comprehensive investigation to determine the issue’s full scope,” the staff demanded.

They are also concerned about the impartiality of the fact-finding investigative panel, arguing that it included deans from some of the affected schools, a conflict of interest that may have affected the outcome of the probe.

Furthermore, the staff association questioned the transparency and fairness of the university authorities in naming individuals who are complicit in the grades tampering. 

They said; “It is discriminatory to publicly mention Dr John T Mendy while concealing the other accused individuals’ identities (i.e., staff and students). Transparency and fairness should be applied consistently to all parties involved. The association also questioned the approach of naming and dismissing the accused staff for grade alterations while concealing the names of accused students and not expelling them equally. The association, therefore, advocates for equitable treatment and consequences for all parties found responsible. In light of these concerns, the UTG Staff Association is actively conducting investigations and fulfilling its responsibilities to ensure that the relevant stakeholders establish an independent committee to reinvestigate these grade alteration scandals, which are of significant public interest. The association is committed to advocating for fairness, transparency, and justice to restore the institution’s integrity.

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