NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Eyewitness News understands that the University of The Bahamas is considering shutting down normal operations at its Northern Campus in Grand Bahama as it continues to grapple with the fallout from Hurricane Dorian.
The revelation came in a note, obtained by Eyewitness News, from UB North Vice President Dr Ian Strachan to top university officials.
“Is it the intention of the university (with the attendant approval of the government) to shut down normal operations at UB-North and convert it to a virtual campus,” Strachan asked.
“I respectfully ask that this decision be made as quickly as possible, preferably within the next two weeks, so that employees and students may be informed.”
Strachan noted that if it is the decision of the university to move forward with the plans, he will, “with absolute certainty” resign his post forthwith and make immediate arrangements to relocate his family to New Providence.
“I will speak to the nature of this proposition in another place and at another time,” he added.
“Since my opinion of it is not required in this decision I will keep it to myself for now.
“If this is a poker game, sirs, I hope you win.”
More than 500 students, faculty, and staff were displaced in the aftermath of the storm, and the campus’ infrastructure was severely compromised.
The category 5 storm gutted the ground floor of the administrative block, ripped off windows, decimated infrastructure, and left the Hawksbill Hall residence in shambles.
Asked whether the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) was aware of the consideration, UTEB President Daniel Thompson told Eyewitness News that that issue has sprouted from the lack of clarity from its leaders.
Thompson said the institution is in “chaos” and “pandemonium”.
The university has come under scrutiny in recent days after it was revealed last week that Dr Rodney Smith was actively seeking a position at an American university.
Smith appeared in person on West Virginia State University (WVSU) campus on Wednesday where he spoke about his plans to lead the university into the future.
Yesterday, the university announced that Dr Nicole Pride would become its first female and 12th president.
There has been no word from the university on whether Smith will remain on as president.
Earlier this week, the UB Board of Trustees confirmed that Smith will not renew his contract at the university in August 2022.
The university advised that Smith “may possibly leave the university before the expiration of his contract if he is offered a position and accepts the offer.”
It however assured that the board will establish and convene a Presidential Search Committee to lead the process of selecting Smith’s successor.