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Garang University staff call to reverse administrative order

September 28, 2012 (BOR) - The teaching staff of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology have forced vice chancellor Aggrey Ayuen to reverse his decision to terminate the water supply to the staff rented accommodation.

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The VC of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, Aggrey Ayuen Majok, Bor, Jonglei, September 28, 2012 (ST)

On 27 September Ayuen wrote to the academic staff, informing them of the termination of the running water supply to their accommodation, due to a lack of funds.

The teaching staff requested in their reply, on the same day, that Ayuen reverse his decision within 24 hours, threatening a “no teaching strike” as a potential repercussion of inaction.

In reply to the staff letter on 28 September Ayuen said at 12.00 am that the decision he took was “irreversible”. This triggered a strike until conditions improve. By 6.00pm he had bowed to pressure and agreed to improvements.

In a letter signed by 17 top academic staff, including the deans of the colleges, termination of teaching services and vacation of the staff accommodation is declared if “living conditions are not improved”.

The dean of the faculty of agriculture, Deng Manasseh Mac; the dean of environmental studies, Jok Gai Mac; academic secretary, Anthony Lenson Oyat; and the deputy dean of students, David Malual Wuor are among the signatories.

The dean of the environmental college, Jok Gai Mach described Ayuen’s decision as being taken “out of blue” as it has not been discussed by the university senate.

In his letter written on 27 September, the Ayuen said the university has been forced, by a lack of money, to stop the water supply to the staff accommodation with the effect from 27 September.

Ayuen told Sudan Tribune that the university could not continue to supply water to the accommodation as the university “doesn’t have money at all” which was making it difficult to buy fuel for the generators.

The university teaching staff also said they had had been without electricity for three weeks, “and now the water is being terminated”.

Currently, the state government has rented three houses that are used by teachers for accommodation, with the university supplying electricity and water.

Controversially, Ayuen said the water supply cannot continue as the same is not afforded elsewhere in South Sudan.

Urging the university to provide for the electricity and water needs of the staff, “we don’t know the real budget of the University, we have only heard of the austerity measures”, said the dean of students, Majok Kelei.

The university has been without lectures since 17 August due to a lack of funds to pay for lecturers.

In January South Sudan’s government lost 98% of its revenue when it stopped oil production over a transit fee dispute with neighbouring Sudan. Production is due to resume in three to six months after an agreement was reached in late this month in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.