UTT shuts down SAPA campus

(Trinidad Guardian) Grappling to deal with financial constraints, the University of T&T has now closed down its campus at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando.

Workers from Electro-sign Ltd were seen removing the UTT signs from the $350 million facility yesterday, built to develop and showcase indigenous cultural talent.

UTT president Sarim Al-Zubaidy did not respond to emails but board member Professor Clement Imbert confirmed the UTT SAPA campus was no more.

Saying it hurt his heart to lead the exercise, Imbert said UTT has to engage in cost-cutting measures or face a total closure. A source said the institution had a $6 million cut in its monthly subvention of $16.7 million and has been unable to meet its expenses.

“The reality is we are not getting the money that we got before, so some programmes will have to go,” Imbert said.

Two programmes Biomedical Engineering, Environmental Science and Management, Bioscience and Agriculture and Health Sciences have already been cut and Imbert said if UTT does not reduce its expenses and Government cuts its subvention, the institution will be closed down and everyone will lose their jobs.

“Unfortunately a lot of people have to go or else the whole of UTT will crash and everybody will have to go. Clearly, if we don’t get any money from Government we will close down so whatever money we get now we have to try to live within our means,” he said.

Imbert said it will be a travesty if the institution goes belly up.

“I don’t believe it is the intention of the Government or anybody else is to close down UTT. I don’t know how things will turn out,” Imbert said. He added that T&T was rich in talent and so far there is no plan to shut down the programme.

He noted that UTT has international accreditation on some programmes adding that it was imperative for UTT to manage its operating costs efficiently.

He noted that the closure of the SAPA campus will not affect students.

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