Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Alan Geere's African university job ends in tears

It looks like Alan Geere's new job as senior tutor in media, communication and journalism at Victoria University in Kampala, Uganda, has come to an abrupt end.

The former award-winning editor of the Essex Chronicle (top) writes on his blog - in a post headlined  The Victoria University dream: How it all ended in tears - "In a dramatic announcement just days before the new term was due to start staff were told that courses validated by the University of Buckingham in the UK had been suspended.

A statement put out on the Victoria University website set out the reasons behind the move:
“Under both UK and Ugandan law discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited; however there are fundamental differences between the two nations’ respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled.

"After seeking legal guidance from both UK and Ugandan lawyers, Victoria University and University of Buckingham have concluded that as the laws of Uganda and UK presently stand, Victoria University cannot comply with both sets of laws.”

Geere adds: "This is all about the so-called ‘Gay Bill’, which was due to be presented to Parliament early this year. It calls for severe penalties for people who engage in homosexual acts and even threatens punishment for anyone who knows about others who know about any such behaviour..."

"So, two years hard work unravelled in a matter of days. The students were told they could have a refund for last term’s fees and would be offered help to continue their studies at Middlesex Dubai or Buckingham in the UK while the academic staff were given three days to clear their desks and were paid off as per their contracts."

Geere left Northcliffe, where he was regional editorial director for Northcliffe South East, last summer to take up the teaching post in Africa. The Essex Chronicle under his editorship won the weekly newspaper of the year title two years in a row at the Society of Editors' Regional Press Awards.

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