Monday, November 29, 2021

Outspoken BIUST Professor at centre of academic freedom row

Embattled BIUST may find itself at the centre of an academic freedom and freedom of expression row following plans to call Professor John Stanfield for a disciplinary hearing after he published a critique of the BIUST governance crisis in the Sunday Standard.

In a hard hitting report, Professor Stanfield stated that, “the centre of the power struggle in BIUST governance is over jostling for positioning to gain advantage in tender contracts and to reward high status to the overly ambitious; it has nothing to do with the education of students let alone the development of a research university of first rank.

In fact, the composition of the board of which the ousted Council Chair presided and the former Vice Chancellor reported to did not include any one with extensive understanding of how research universities let alone just universities should be governed let alone having deep understanding of university structures and cultures.

It is common place around the world for governing boards of public universities with board chairs and members with possible business and other interests which propensity to be of conflict of interest with the university such as real estate and housing and the employment of relatives. Suspicions that board leadership and members may abuse their power through pressing for policies and other actions which would be financially beneficial to them can be allayed through firmly enforced conflict of interests policies.” Unconfirmed reports, state the acting BIUST Vice Chancellor has cautioned Professor Stanfield that he may be summoned for a disciplinary hearing over the essay. Professor Stanfield is BIUST Interim Distinguished Professor and was appointed as the Founding Director of the Mogae International Development and Governance Research Institute. He has over 20 years experiences in African public universities.

His censor for expressing his academic freedom and freedom of expression harks back on the expulsion of former University of Botswana, Professor Kenneth Good from the country for publishing a paper viewed as subversive by government.

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