“Finally, finally.” These were the two first words uttered by University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Dr Albert Schram when he faced the students, staff and residents yesterday for the first time since his deportation last year.
Schram and his wife Paulina flew into Port Moresby from Australia yesterday and took a connection to Nadzab where about 1,000 people, mostly students and staff, accorded him a warm and noisy welcome.
Staff on campus were notified through emails that Schram was accorded an employment visa which enabled him to enter the campus and resume duties.
Schram and Unitech student representative council president Eddie Nagual were carried from near the tarmac onto the car park amid loud cheering before being escorted by more than 70 vehicles into Lae.
The convoy of vehicles stopped traffic when Schram was given a tour around the city before arriving at the campus to another big welcome at the main entrance where a barricade was removed.
“Finally, finally … I feel a tremendous positive energy standing here, this is by far the biggest welcome I have ever had in my life,” he said.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the government and the national executive council, I thank all the stakeholders, the acting administration and management, the students and the three staff associations,” he said.
He pointed out the effort of Chancellor Sir Nagora Bogan, who was not present, thanking him for his diplomacy, wisdom and humility during the saga.
Schram said even the involvement of a mediation process and Sevua investigation were not enough to end the mess until the students stepped into the picture to force the government to listen.
“To me, Unitech is the greatest university and it will fly,” he said.
“You come here to learn and we will give you the best education you deserve,” he said.
Nagual then led Schram to the administration building where the canvas and barricade were removed, which according to Nagual, officially signalled the end of their class boycott and resumption of the administration functions of the university.