The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) today called upon the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission to step down from the position. Sending a letter to Professor Kshanika Hiriburegama, the FUTA has highlighted serious instances of misconduct and abuse of power by her.
We publish below the letter in full;
Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama
University Grants Commission
Dear Professor Hiriburegama, Call for Resignation
As you know, the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has brought several serious issues to your notice for some time. You have unfortunately not responded satisfactorily to any of these issues. Additionally, your actions in recent times have brought the office of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to disrepute. Those actions constitute abuse of your position as Chairperson of the UGC. These include:
1. Campaigning for a Presidential candidate misusing your position and authority as Chair of the UGC and using your position to influence university academics to sign a petition in favour of Presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse and publicly campaigning on his behalf, thereby subjecting to partisan politicization the important public office you hold.
2. Ignoring instances of clear conflict of interests such as accepting positions to the boards of various private higher educational institutions and your failure to recuse yourself from the matter relating to the appointment of the Colombo University Vice-Chancellor in which your spouse was an applicant. This coupled with the fact that your spouse was eventually appointed although he received the lowest votes in the University Council compels us to conclude that you manipulated the process in his favour.
3. Blocking of the appointment of a qualified and deserving candidate to the post of Professor of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, during your tenure as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo, and further obstructing the course of justice and misusing your position as UGC Chair by refusing to take remedial action in this instance, even when advised to do so by the then Secretary to H.E the President Mr Lalith Weeratunga.
Furthermore you have failed to respond to issues that have been raised with you by FUTA on several occasions. These include:
1. Nominating Dr Priyantha Premakumara to attend ASAHIL International Conference in June 2014 despite his ineligibility.
2. Selection of a student to the University of Ruhuna violating all established procedures, based on a letter provided by Mr. Namal Rajapakse, Member of Parliament.
3. Ignoring the serious allegations of malpractice at several universities, including the Eastern University and Jaffna University, which were brought to your notice on several occasions.
Due to these extremely serious instances of misconduct and abuse of power, you have unfortunately lost the confidence and respect of the university academic community. As such, you will agree that you are not in a position to give leadership to the university community. Therefore, as unanimously agreed at the Emergency FUTA Executive Committee meeting held on the 16th of January 2015, we have no option but to request you, on behalf of our entire membership that you immediately resign from your position as Chairperson of the University Grants Commission. Your failure to do so will create a crisis situation in the university system which we are sure you would wish to avoid at all cost.
Mr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara – President/FUTA and Prof. Rohan Fernando – Secretary/FUTA