UWI Ph.D. Student In A Spot Of Bother…

Attorney To Petition The Queen

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University of West Indies’ (UWI) Ph.D. student Suzette Curtello is leaving no stone unturned in her bid to seek justice from the university.

The young biochemistry Ph.D. candidate is challenging the decision of the University to deny her the right of defending her thesis on the basis that she has not met the set requirements.

Consequently, the matter was brought before Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes.

The judge has set aside the order granted to Curtello who was given leave to go to the Judicial Review Court to challenge the decision of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.

Justice Sykes ruled that there are other options open to Curtello which she can use to file her grievance such as going to the University’s Visitor.

Basically, a Visitor is someone who oversees an institution and who can intervene in internal affairs.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England is the Visitor of the UWI and is represented locally by Jamaica’s Governor General.

The University of the West Indies was established and constituted by a Royal Charter, which gave it full legal status as an incorporated body.

Justice Sykes, in making the decision, warned that he wanted to make it clear that the Visitor’s decision is subject to judicial review if it is shown that the Visitor has committed or is about to commit a serious breach of principle such as bias.

Curtello is arguing that that the university is insisting that she should complete nine additional credits to finish the program and that she should resubmit her thesis.

However, she contends that when she was admitted into the program in 2007 the additional credits were not part of the requirements.

Furthermore, court documents reveal that in 2013 when she submitted the thesis, her faculty waived the requirement as it was not required.

In addition, she said in 2015, the faculty corrected her thesis and said it was ready for oral defense.

However, she is unable to do so as the Board of Graduate Studies is insisting that nine additional credits are required.

Attorney-at-Law Caroline Hay, who is representing Curtello, has said that she is now in the process of petitioning The Queen seeking her intervention.

Mrs Hay says it is likely that The Queen will appoint the Governor General to act as the Visitor to hear the matter.

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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