Staff at Yemen’s largest private university demand salaries after Houthis block payments
Staff at the University of Science and Technology (UST) in Sana’a are demanding to receive their salaries for the month of April and their approved annual emoluments, as the Houthis continue to occupy the private university and keep its president arbitrarily detained.
“This is the first time that salaries have been suspended for more than two months and the annual emoluments have been suspended since the university was founded 25 years ago,” a professor and administrative official at the university told Almasdar Online. “The university has gone through several crises, but it has not cut salaries or benefits to the employees,” said the professor, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
In January, a Houthi official named Saleh Al-Sha’er took control of UST, which is Yemen’s largest private university. The Houthis arrested UST President Dr. Hamid Aqlan and dismissed many of the university’s staff.
Al-Sha’er is well-known as the “judicial guard,” and is accused of confiscating and looting funds and property belonging to opponents of the Houthis. Dr. Aqlan was initially released, but then the Houthis arbitrarily arrested him at his home on February 13, in an apparent attempt to pressure the administration of UST, which is based in and controlled from Jordan, to hand over electronic records to the Houthis.
The source said that the Houthis are continuing to take arbitrary measures against the university and its employees, and have prevented the payments of dues, incentives and wages to the staff. According to the source, the Houthis are instead using the funds to build a new administrative system that would completely sideline the university’s owners and management in Jordan.
Following the detention of Dr. Aqlan, the Houthis appointed Adel Al-Mutawwakel to replace him. The source said Al-Mutawwakel in turn appointed “a gang” to handle various finance, HR, IT, and security positions at the university, and that these individuals have total authority over the regular staff.
Edited by Alkhatab Alrawhani