Silent revolution at the university

POSTED: 07/27/15 8:08 PM

St. Maarten – The University of St. Martin has gone through a silent revolution the past year and the board is not ready to talk about it. Soon after the university hired Dr. Francio Guadeloupe as its new dean of academics in the beginning of 2014 things started going south. There were internal conflicts between President Annelies van den Assem and Guadeloupe that ran their course to their inevitable conclusion.

Van den Assem went home on sick leave last summer and Guadeloupe took control – first under his title as dean of academics and later as acting president / dean of academics. Behind the scenes negotiations went on to settle the entitlements of Van den Assem, who in the course of the year quietly returned to the Netherlands. She still had friends in the university board though and they battled on to settle matters.

When the university published a vacancy ad for a new dean of academics it became clear that a settlement had been reached. The vacancy ad suggests that Guadeloupe will move up to the office once occupied by Van den Assem and a new dean will take over his old job that he held for the past one-and-a-half year.

“I have no comment,” Van den Assem told this newspaper in an email this weekend. That is not surprising because settlements like the one the university apparently reached with its ousted president usually come with a non-disclosure clause.

More surprising in this respect is the silence on the side of the university that has not uttered a beep ever since Van den Assem left and was in essence replaced by Guadeloupe. In the past, the dean has referred for comments on the situation to the board.

When we reached the board’s chair Valerie Gitterson-Pantophlet on Friday, she declined to elaborate, and just said that the university would come with a statement in August when the new dean of academics is in place.

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