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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Schram Returns (Post-Courier, 3 April 2014)

Original: Schram Returns
April 03,2014, 11:09 pm


MORE than 50 vehicles packed with cheering University of Technology staff and students gave Dr Albert Schram a hero’s welcome when he disembarked from an Air Niugini aircraft at Nadzab airport yesterday afternoon.

The impact of the arrival of the sidelined vice chancellor at the Unitech campus was instantaneous with the Student Representative Council immediately calling off their boycott of classes and agreeing to return to lectures today.

However, the return of Dr Schram and his installation as vice chancellor recently could soon come under the radar of the National Court if acting chancellor Ralph Saulep has his way, as he is of the view that the academic’s return to office is in contempt of court. Some parents and relatives of the students said they supported the protest but wanted classes to resume immediately.

But the court proceedings was far from the minds of the jubilant staff and students as traffic along the Lae Nadzab highway came to a standstill to allow the the convoy of vehicles to pass with their passengers shouting “Unitech power house”, in reference to their fight to bring back the academic.

Upon arrival at the Taraka campus, Dr Schram opened the barricaded gate and was welcomed by staff and students, who put him on their shoulders and carried him to the podium with traditional Manus garamut drums beating in the background. Student Representative Council president Eddie Nagual told staff and students who gathered to welcome Dr Schram that their hard work finally paid off and they have now officially ended their boycott.

“We will now allow normal operations of Unitech and we will stand on ‘Yes Schram Yes School’,” he said. The support and involvement of staff, students and members of the university community in the month-long protest clears the way to a brighter future as it would translate to the provision of courses promoting technological excellence, he said. The student-led protest was not lost on university staff Professor John Satter, who described it as “historic” as they fought for truth and justice to ensure Dr Schram returned as the legitimate vice chancellor. “You students and staff associations have made history in having Dr Schram to arrive into the country and also here at Unitech with your tireless efforts in staging the protest and boycotting of classes,” he said.

Representatives from the National Academic Staff Association, National Staff Association and Non Citizen Staff Associations also welcomed the arrival of the reinstated vice chancellor, saying they look forward to the resumption of classes and the staging of the university’s graduation ceremony which was delayed due to the unrest. The reverence that the staff and students have for Dr Schram was obvious when the crowd chanted “Unitech VC” when he took the stage to speak. “We will all work together in having this institution as a high flying and leading university in providing quality education of qualified technological elites who can contribute meaningfully towards the development of this country and also within the pacific region,” he said. Classes and the university administration operations are now back to normal, he said while assuring the crowd that there will be more transparency at Unitech.

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