April 2017

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Campus leadership promises student representation in Penal-Debe decision

“A firm decision with respect to what aspect of UWI teaching and learning will be relocating to the Penal-Debe Campus has NOT yet been decided.”

These were the words in a statement from UWI St. Augustine. The statement, issued on March 29, was in response to dissatisfaction from students of the Law Faculty, which was designated to move to the South campus in January 2018. On March 20, 2017, Law students held a campus protest against the move.

The press statement acknowledged that the Penal-Debe project was three years overdue but explained that the committee responsible for operationalising the campus has been reconstituted. The new committee, it said, would be made up of all stakeholders, including students:

“An Operationalisation Committee was reconvened which comprised representatives from all stakeholder groups, including key administrative departments and the President of the Guild of Students. This Committee will be expanded to include additional student representatives, for example, the Head of the Law Society, as well as other faculty student leaders.”

The statement added that: “all students, by way of the Guild of Students, are statutorily part of every decision-making body at UWI.”

Reiterating that students and staff were the primary stakeholders of UWI St. Augustine, the official statement said any move to the new campus would take place “when there is an appropriate academic ecosystem”, fully connected to St. Augustine and fully equipped with student amenities.

“The final decision on what happens at the South Campus will be guided by an assessment of how The UWI could best utilise the South Campus to maximise return on the public investment in its development,” it said.

UWI St. Augustine embarked upon the plan for the Penal-Debe Campus in 2011with the goal of increasing university access for under-served communities in Trinidad and Tobago. Set on a 100-acre piece of land, the site was once used for sugar cane cultivation and is accessible from the East, West, North and South.