University dismisses 'Chalkdust'

PORT OF SPAIN — Former calypso monarch Dr. Hollis Liverpool, the Mighty Chalkdust, is among the casualties of a decision not to renew the contracts of four programme leaders (professors) at the University of Trinidad and Tobago who are over 70.

Former calypso monarch Dr. Hollis Liverpool.

Eight-time calypso monarch Liverpool, Associate Provost Jeanette Morris, Winston Suite and Colin Stevenson, of the United Kingdom, are those whose contracts will not be renewed.

A source at the state-run university yesterday said: “It was a board decision that persons over the age of 70 can no longer hold programme professors’ positions.”

However, the source said UTT would not send these “70-plus” professors home entirely, but would retain them in other positions and capacities at the university, such as advisory boards.

However, the positions that would be offered, the source said, would not be equivalent to a lecturer’s salary, which starts from $40,000 a month.

“Remember, most of these people retired from UWI and came to UTT. They have been collecting big salaries and even pensions,” the source added.

UTT has a staff of over 1,200, all of whom are on contract.

“Liverpool is not the only one. You have a number of persons who are within the 70-plus age,” the source added.

It is understood that UTT decided on the move to create opportunities for other staff to grow and develop.

The T&T Guardian was told the board adopted the policy last month at the start of the new academic year.

Contacted yesterday, Morris, who was programme professor in education for six years and served two three-year contracts, said the move was unexpected.

“What they have done is that they have adopted a policy of not renewing contracts for academics who have reached the age of retirement,” she said.

Morris, whose contract ends this month, said she was notified last month.

However, Liverpool, who is programme professor of the Academy of Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs, said he was unaware of any such move.

“I am still at UTT. I am teaching right now,” said Liverpool, who is in his early 70s. His contract is expected to end this year.

Suite could not be reached for comment and Stevenson has since left T&T. (Guardian)

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