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UGC Chairman rejects claims of interference

2013 Dec 12

BY LAKNA PARANAMANNA

University Grants Commission (UGC) Vice Chancellor, Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama yesterday dismissed allegations levelled against her concerning alleged attempts to sabotage the meeting held to shortlist candidates to select a new Vice Chancellor for the Kelaniya University.

Responding to the inquiry made by Daily Mirror concerning the allegations, Prof. Hirimburegama said, “The allegations are completely incorrect and they are being circulated by a few top members of the Kelaniya University administration.”

According to academics and students who have expressed their concerns regarding alleged interferences made by Prof. Hirimburegama on the new VC selection process, she had prevented a senior UGC official from attending the meeting held to shortlist the candidates. They claim these attempts are made in order to appoint a close associate of Prof. Nalin De Silva as the next VC of the Kelaniya University.

However, Prof. Hirimburegama responding to the allegation assured she did not prevent the UGC official from attending the meeting but that the absence was the result of a communication error caused by the Kelaniya University Registrar. “The meeting was due to be held on December 3. But on December 2, I received a fax from the Kelaniya University Registrar informing the meeting has been postponed. Therefore, I informed the UGC official who was due to travel to Colombo all the way from Kandy, not to attend the meeting as it was postponed,” she explained.

The application period for the VC post expired on November 11 and on November 19 it had been decided to shortlist the candidates on December 3. The academics and students who are concerning of an alleged sabotage in the VC appointment process claim as a result of the absence of an UGC official at the meeting on December 3, it has allowed the UGC Chairman to appoint an acting Vice Chancellor and implement an interim administration.

Six academics are presently being considered for the position and names of three most suitable candidates have to be presented to the President for approval.

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