THE University of Papua New Guinea administration's decision to terminate eight students from continuing their studies is illegal and ultra vires (beyond its power in law) according to lawyer Peter Dumu.
As classes at the university are due to recommence today, Dumu (pictured), a former member of the students’ disciplinary committee, offered three grounds for his view.
Firstly, according to the by-laws of UPNG, a student who is alleged to be in breach, must be given seven to 14 days notice to respond to written charges by the students’ disciplinary committee.
The committee will then call a meeting to hear the response, following which it will make its ruling on whether suspend or terminate a student from studies.
Second, Dumu said, if a student is not satisfied, there is a right of appeal under the law.
Finally, if the appeal committee affirms the original decision, the aggrieved student, having exhausted the administrative avenue, can apply to the National Court for a judicial review.
“It is crystal clear that the UPNG administration or the council have no power at all under UPNG law or statute to terminate students right away,” Dumu said.
“The harsh decision made by the UPNG administration is ultra vires and illegal from the start.
“The UPNG administration should reconsider its decision, and at least go by the book," he said.
Meanwhile, Student Representative Council vice-president, Arthur Amos, said that some of the excluded students have written to the university administration asking it to reinstate them.
Despite the so-called ‘reconciliation’ on Friday, Amos said the university showed no sign of allowing verbal communication between the parties; everything had to be in writing.
The terminated students who have made requests are awaiting the appeals committee’s decision.