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PORT MORESBY, PNG (The National, July 31) – The Vice-Chancellor of the University of PNG, Prof Les Eastcott, has "voluntarily stepped aside" to allow an independent investigation into the institution to begin this week.

The fate of three other administration officials - Bursar Edward Croake, Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor Margaret Obi and Registrar Vincent Mailabe - will be known today.

Chancellor Andrew Yauieb announced this at a joint press conference with other members of the University Council and Higher Education Minister, Don Polye, on Saturday.

Mr Yauieb and Mr Polye said the University Council and the government were working together to restore normalcy to the Waigani campus and to ensure classes, which were disrupted since July 11, could resume.

They appealed to students to return to class and assured them that the investigation would address all the issues raised in two petitions.

Mr Yauieb said: "The council is working in partnership with the government; we respect the Cabinet (NEC). We respect the government of the day and we would like to work with them and we are very grateful to the minister for his intervention in assisting us to defuse the situation at the university."

He said the investigation team would consist of two nominees of the University Council and three from the government.

"As the minister said, during the period of investigation the VC will step aside and we will invite the public, students and lecturers to come forward to either give written submission or oral submission to the investigating committee that will be set up."

He added that the terms of reference for the investigators would be broad and "will cover a wide range of issues, including the submissions that have been adequately dealt with by the council and we have written responses to every point in those two petitions".

Mr Yauieb also confirmed that the semester would be extended by three weeks.

Mr Polye commended the students who returned to class on Friday and called on all "to take on the maturity in discipline and leadership".

He said he was confident that all students would return to class today.

Monday, August 1, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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