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‘How Did Iraqi Professor Get Senior U.B. Role?’

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Professor Sarim Al-Zubaidy.

MEMBERS of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas are up in arms over the appointment of Iraqi-born Professor Sarim Al-Zubaidy to the position of executive vice president of University of The Bahamas.

The appointment was announced last week and took effect on January 4.

UTEB’s president, Daniel Thompson said he cannot understand how Mr Al-Zubaidy was appointed when the university owes union members monies from as far back as 2011. He also said senior positions at the premier educational institution should be occupied by qualified Bahamian professionals.

He said while the union was engaged during the search process, executives are unhappy about the appointment.

Mr Thompson said: “We were a part of the search process. . . while we commend the university for engaging (in) a transparent process, we are surprised that in light of the current pandemic and the severe financial fall out, the government of The Bahamas, through the board of trustees, is prepared to permit the entry into The Bahamas of Professor Sarim Al-Zubaidy.

“He is now here. Faculty is still waiting on promotions and back pay from 2011. The university had promised, through the president, that those monies would have been available from October. He promised it again in November and December.

“It is now January and the back pay for people who were promoted from 2011, ten years ago, the university is not in a position to pay that back pay. Not even increments that the university had promised were paid.”

He also questioned if the new hire is receiving a generous salary and associated perks.

Last summer, UB President Dr Rodney Smith was shortlisted along with two other finalists to be West Virginia State University’s 12th president. He later said he withdrew his candidacy ahead of their decision but also confirmed last year that he will not renew his contract with the university when it expires in 2022.

Yesterday, the union leader speculated if Professor Al-Zubaidy will be called upon to lead the university should Dr Smith leave abruptly.

He continued: “. . .What I suspect the university is doing to protect itself to ensure that should the president get up and get another job offer and leave the university, then they will have someone to head the institution; the bringing Professor Al-Zubaidy in. If that is so, it creates a critical problem.

“You are bringing in someone who was interviewed for an executive vice president position and you are bringing him in as the de facto future president. So the executive vice president will ultimately become the acting president whom they never interviewed for the position of acting president. This is in case the president does what he did last summer. This is not right because you have persons already at the institution who are qualified to act in that position.”

Prior to his appointment at UB, Professor Al-Zubaidy was employed as president of University of Trinidad and Tobago. According to a Trinidadian publication, Newsday, he resigned his post there after a tumultuous tenure as president.

UB, in a statement announcing his new role, hailed Professor Al-Zubaidy as a registered chartered engineer and chartered environmentalist with over 30 years’ experience in executive, administrative and academic positions in a variety of higher education institutions around the world.

“This is happening while Bahamians are being laid off, and the country is experiencing high unemployment, estimated at 30 percent to 40 percent by the Minister (of) Labour Senator Dion Foulkes in a June 3, 2020 interview,” Mr Thompson said of the appointment. “Further, he said that 55,000 persons have applied for unemployment benefits.

“Yet University of The Bahamas has (asked) the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to issue a labour certificate and work permit for Professor Sarim Al-Zubaidy, notwithstanding formal protestations by UTEB. UTEB maintains that UB has internally, several Bahamian professionals, qualified and ready to serve or at least act in the executive vice-president position until a stable economic climate returns to the country.”

Attempts to reach Dr Smith and other school officials for comment were unsuccessful.

Comments

Millennial242 1 week, 6 days ago

He said while the union was engaged during the search process, executives are unhappy about the appointment.

Mr Thompson said: “We were a part of the search process. . . while we commend the university for engaging (in) a transparent process,

Ok, respectfully...are you trying to have your cake and eat it too? If you were involved in the process and championing the university's transparency, then YOU KNOW exactly how the professor got to be there...no?

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 week, 6 days ago

New year, same nonsense. Unemployment at record highs, but only in The Bahamas foreigners still get hired before Bahamians.
Now don't give me that highly qualified crap, since Smith himself is a Bahamian. I guess he's the only qualified Bahamian in the country who could lead a university?? smh🤦‍♂️

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themessenger 1 week, 6 days ago

I suppose you and Mr. Thompson are proponents of social promotion at UAB as well as in our D- standard government schools, being Bahamian is the only qualification required for a position or advancement. Which Bahamian academic, in your and Mr. Thompsons' educated opinion, is available and meets the standard and requirements for the position? Pray, tell!

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Dawes 1 week, 6 days ago

What you said is not true though. Just a quick look at Harvard shows that 38% of their faculty is foreign. https://worldwide.harvard.edu/worldwi...">https://worldwide.harvard.edu/worldwi... I am sure that we will see the same at most other top institutions. I guess you are one of those who demand that no foreigner is allowed over here, but at the same time celebrate every time a Bahamian does well overseas, thereby taking a job off someone local.

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hrysippus 1 week, 6 days ago

So does UB select the best available candidate for the position or the best available Bahamian candidate? Consider; 400,000 Bahamians to choose from, 8 billion other citizens of other countries to choose from. Hmmm.....

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ohdrap4 1 week, 6 days ago

These position are mostly for bcrap, I am sure there are many qualified round here.

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themessenger 1 week, 6 days ago

Please answer the question or are you a product of the social promotion program also? If there are that many qualified round here, as you put it, you should have no trouble naming a few a dem.

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ohdrap4 1 week, 5 days ago

If anything I was a victim of social promotion , as I have always been the brilliant one.

Until one day I got tired of doing other people's work and they get the stipend.

They can put this guy there, and I hope he uses the platform to see greener pastures.

The UB old bitties do not forgive.

I will not name anyone for free. You will have to pay me a finder's fee.

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Economist 1 week, 5 days ago

Universitie with a greater diversity in the faculty are rated higher. You don't think that Harvard, Yale, Oxford etc could not find people in thier own country?

If UB is to become anything it needs to deversify its faculty.

The Bahamas is becoming a nation of xenaphobics.

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Proguing 1 week, 5 days ago

Correct, otherwise no need to go to UB, just listen to Bahamian radio shows..

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 5 days ago

This has to do with WHO is funding UB ......... foreign money demands an open search for personnel ...... More to come as IDB tightens the noose on the Govt. & Treasury

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TalRussell 1 week, 5 days ago

Hardly the case that the UTEB’s president, Comrade Daniel could be arguing like the Iranian, might've at one time been but another shameless plagiarist. If so, Daniel goin' needs the laying prayerful hands upon em. I will has look that one up? Shakehead** a quick once for upyeahvote, Twice for not?

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