The University of the South Pacific Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson says the Executive Committee that met on Monday has the legal mandate to suspend Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia.

Concerns were raised as staff and students protested the sudden suspension.

Professor Pal has been relieved of his duties to allow an independent investigation into alleged material misconduct and breaches of USP policies.

The USP Pro-Chancellor confirmed a virtual council meeting will be held soon.

This is after a number of member countries raised their concerns about the power struggle in the university’s administration.

When asked about the calls for him to step down, Thompson said that the decision will be made by the council as he has no desire to step down.

Thompson said there was no need to seek permission from the council to suspend Professor Pal as there was sufficient evidence of alleged material misconduct.

Meanwhile, students and staff have refused to meet with the Pro-Chancellor and the Acting Vice-Chancellor Derrick Armstrong.

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