The last we’ve heard of UB President Dr. Carey Fraser is that he is on leave. It is not certain how long he will be absent, or the nature of his leave, but in the meantime, Interim Provost, Wilmer Wright will hold over. As we have reported, the President and the Board appear to be at odds. Dr. Fraser wrote to Prime Minister Dean Barrow on November 6th, expressing his intent to resign at the end of the current academic year. Among other issues, Dr. Fraser noted disparities between his vision for the institution and that of the Board, who he says is seeking a micro-management type direction for the institution. Dr. Fraser mentioned to us that he would be seeking an audience with the Prime Minister upon Barrow’s return to country. The PM was queried on his knowledge of the escalating state of affairs at the institution.
“He hasn’t sought an audience; I’ve now seen the letter that he wrote to me which I believe is in the public domain, but he hasn’t sought an audience; I’m in contact with the Chair of the Board, and the minister spoke about the issue yesterday in Cabinet…but I have not had a chance to talk to Dr. Fraser”.
The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Association has made no secret of their unease regarding the situation and of their support of Dr. Fraser. Today, the UBSFA issued a press release re-affirming their position. Firstly, they are calling on the PM to inform the university community and the nation on the current status of Dr. Cary Fraser. They add
“The UBFSA is gravely concerned that the national university is presently being run by a retired/rehired, interim provost, who is now also the acting president. UBFSA reiterates the fact that one person is now holding two top management positions. This managerial instability is negatively impacting UB as decisions recently made by President Fraser, are now being reversed in his absence which will cause UB to go into further dire financial crisis.”
The association says it “Strongly supports Dr Fraser’s position that the UB Board of Trustee must desist from micro-managing the university and operate solely from a policy level. In addition, the UBFSA strongly supports that all UB assets be placed into a Land Trust in an effort to sustain our national university on a long term basis.
The UBFSA demands that the Hon. Patrick Faber Minister of Education & Sports ensure that the Ministry of Education fulfills its outstanding debt obligation of over two million dollars owed to the university as stated by himself on Open Your Eyes on Nov 22nd, 2013.” The Faculty and Staff organ says it has zero tolerance for the crippling cuts in the budget that occurs on an yearly basis which they say destructively impacts the quality of programs delivered to our students.