All professors who have attained the mandatory age of 65 years in the Lagos State University, LASU, were last week served with official letters directing them to immediately proceed on terminal leave.
This letter was sent on the eve of the commencement of the first semester examination, and no official reason was given for this development. The mandatory age of 65 years is an integral part of the old conditions of service though, and some people have insinuated that this might lead to another crisis in the institution.
Academic and non-academic members of the institution, who had hoped the new Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, would steer the school away from the brink are beginning to think differently.
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Under the immediate past governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola, the 32-year-old institution witnessed two academic sessions of civil disobedience on campus.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, in his bid to fully understand the issues, met with the university’s management and the unions shortly after his inauguration. A few days after the meeting, he approved the payment of the balance of the school fees paid by students of LASU, totalling N162.5m, as a first step aimed at dousing the tension.
Few months later, he approved the composition of a new governing council for the institution along side that of four other institutions. Another step the governor took in his bid to return sanity to the institution was the approval of a five-year single-term for vice chancellors of the school five days after its approval by the state House of Assembly.
Ambode, who endorsed the amended version of the law governing the school, also approved on-campus residency for the students and a 70-year retirement age for professors. These new provisions were part of recommendations of the state House of Assembly to put an end to unending crisis in the 32-year-old institution.