An e-mail sent to the media on Thursday has left more questions than answers as to whether or not Prof Sarim Al-Zubaidy had quit his post as president of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).
An unattributed e-mailed statement from one "Ms Hosein" claimed he left the post, but the university's corporate communications unit told Newsday they knew of no such thing. The e-mail claimed, “Iraqi Sarim Al-Zubaidy has resigned as President of UTT. Professor Prakash Persad is now in charge. Al Zubaidy is reported to be rushing to his homeland in Iraq to rescue his relatives from US rocket attacks in Al Asad.”
The claim referred to Iranian missiles hitting Iraqi military bases without causing casualties, in retaliation for last Friday's US drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, even as both sides have since de-escalated tensions.
The e-mail claimed other shake-ups at UTT.
“Dr Zameer Mohammed has been appointed as Vice President of Corporate Operations.” It said Sandra Ganness has also been named Head of Student Support Services and alleged she had only a first degree in zoology.
Al-Zubaidy, when contacted by Newsday, neither confirmed nor denied the claims in the e-mail, saying he was unaware of that document.
He said, "Even if I want to leave, I would not tell you first. I would tell the chairman of the (UTT) board first." Pressed by Newsday, he added, "Events in the Middle East have nothing to do with any decision I may take or not take."
Asked if Al-Zubaidy had resigned, Ganness said, “I have not received any official word. I have not heard it. That has not come out at all from corporate communications officially.”
Asked if she had been promoted and had only a first degree, Ganness said she was in a meeting and opted not to comment until she had first seen the statement.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia told Newsday, "I have no information he has resigned. He has a contract and at the end of it an appraisal will be done and either he will be renewed or not."