WIFOL states: ”USM is like a chicken without a head”

The University of St. Martin is formally without a president, and the disrespect to the staff continues since to date the staff members have not been formally informed as to who will take on the responsibilities of the former president, now that she has officially retired. 

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Josianne Fleming-Artsen resigned as USM president on June 30, and during her last meeting with the staff, she announced that an acting president would be appointed in the interim, until a new president is appointed at the start of the new year.

The WIFOL chides the USM Board for lack of transparency and respect for the staff and for ignoring the principles of proper corporate governance.

"The USM Board members, who have been touting transparency, are themselves not transparent and lack professionalism and accountability. It has been days since the president resigned and the staff is entitled to know who they should give account to," says WIFOL President Theophilus Thompson

Months ago the board promised to come clean to the public and to date we have not heard a squeak. The board raised over a million dollars in pledges and donations from the community but to date has not given an account of the funds raised. In 2008 three persons– a dean, chief financial officer, and librarian– were hired at substantial salaries to turn the institution around. Since then the dean has left after one year of a two year contract, and a substantial amount of the staff have left. There is still not a fully functional library at USM, the CFO is constantly meddling in managerial matters including attempting to do away with key functions critical to the accreditation process, and the institution is practically bankrupt.

The WIFOL, which represents the workers at the university, on previous occasions has requested a meeting with the USM Board to find out what its succession plans are. To date board representatives have avoided such meetings.

The WIFOL reiterates its call for the current board to do the honorable thing and let qualified people with St. Martin’s interest at heart take over the reigns of the university, the island’s only tertiary level institution.