Lovin Malta has gained exclusive access to the American University of Malta and is now publishing photos of what the controversial project actually looks like from the inside.
These are the classrooms...
This is the lab
This is the main corridor
Here's the student room/common area
This will become the main reception once the wall is knocked down
This is the view of Cospicua from inside
And these are the toilets...
The American University of Malta started its second scholastic year on Monday, with some 15 students expected to join the ranks of the present 15 imminently. The new semester comes on the heels of a dramatic Christmas break, which saw practically every lecturer sacked without warning, all within their probationary periods.
Lecturers who spoke to Lovin Malta said the news caught them completely off guard, particularly since the AUM had emailed them their teaching schedules of the second semester shortly before the holidays. Indeed, when Lovin Malta visited the AUM campus, the schedules for the second semester were plastered on several doors - including the names of many of the lecturers which had since been sacked.
However, the AUM has since hired a fresh cohort of lecturers - including business lecturers Thomas Towey (previously worked at The American University of Iraq) and Richard Croome (previously worked at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi). English lecturers Robert Cardullo and John Schwartz were brought in from the University of Michigan and California State University respectively, while Khalid Bouhjar was brought in from Florida State University. The AUM has also hired three Maltese lecturers on a part time basis— Lino Sant, Renald Blundell, and Ivan Grech.
Lecturer salaries, which used to be around €90,000 a year, have been considerably slashed as part of a cost-cutting exercise by the AUM’s Jordanian owners Sadeen, this website is informed.
Informed sources told Lovin Malta that representatives from the National Commission for Further and Higher Education paid a visit to the AUM today where it met with its current employees in private. It is unclear how much information they could have gleaned off them, given that all AUM staff contracts include confidentiality clauses which prohibit them from speaking publicly about their jobs, even after they have been fired.
The confidentiality clause has so far been broken once, by former finance lecturer Bernard Gauci, who publicly accused Provost John Ryder of having sacked him because he is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Very soon after its on-site visit, the NCFHE published a statement saying it is confident the AUM hasn’t breached any conditions which justify the revocation of its university license.
The NCFHE said the AUM had made it clear from the start that the number of students, faculty and staff would increase gradually over the years, and that the CVs of its new cohort of academics are satisfactory.
Sadeen's plans for student dorms and engineering labs at Zonqor Point
An attempt by Marsascala’s PN councillors yesterday to pressure the government to return Żonqor Point - the second planned part of the AUM project - to the public was dismissed after the majority of the town’s PL councillors voted against the motion. However, the council’s PL deputy leader Desiree Attard - who has been critical of Sadeen’s plans to build up Zonqor Point from the start - voted in favour of the motion.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently likened the AUM to the University of Malta, insisting both are “brilliant institutions” and that he could see “traces of success” in the nascent AUM. This comment drew the ire of the University Students’ Council (KSU), which claimed Muscat’s comparison “greatly undermines the integrity of the UoM”.