Jaffna College Director Board blames Trustees

The Board of Directors of Jaffna College issuing a statement allege that the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds (TJCF) attempt to reduce the fund for the college in various ways. The statement says the TJCF has sent a letter to the Board threatening to starve the school of funds unless, among other demands, the Chair and Vice Chair of the school board resign.

Full statement:

The Board of Directors of Jaffna College is greatly concerned by a recent letter sent to us by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds (TJCF), a sizeable Trust Fund based in Boston, USA established more than 140 years ago for the sole purpose of supporting Jaffna College. The letter-made public by the Trustees-threatens to starve the school of funds unless, among other demands, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the school board resign.

Rt. Rev. Daniel Thiagarajah is the Bishop in Jaffna of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India, and is

the ex officio Chairperson of the Board of Directors, in accordance with the Constitution of Jaffna College. This is similar to the position of the Boards of Directors of several other leading schools in the country. The Vice Chairperson of the Board is Ms. Vijula Arulanantham, a senior legal practitioner in Sri Lanka and a

member of the Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) and is a critical asset in the Board who provides invaluable legal advice in these trying times.

This demand of the Trustees is the latest in a long series of actions by them, taken in blatant violation of their legal and ethical duty as Trustees. The Trustees have changed the Trust deed on several occasions.These changes were made without consultation with Jaffna College or the Board. The Trustees have even attempted to replace Jaffna College as the ‘supported organisation or chief beneficiary of the Fund, despite the original 1877 Trust Deed expressly stating that ‘The purpose for which the Corporation is constituted is to obtain, hold and manage funds for supporting Jaffna College’.

In these attempts to replace Jaffna College as the chief beneficiary, the Trustees misappropriated funds from the Trust Fund of the school in order to pay for their own legal fees.

In January 2017, the Trustees announced their decision to reduce Jaffna College funding by 20 per cent and imposed a number of largely unreasonable and unnecessary ‘governance’ changes. This drastic (and illegal) reduction of funds placed a great strain on the school, greatly hampering educational activity. In an attempt to resolve matters harmoniously in the interests of the school however, the Jaffna College Board and Principal worked strongly to address all issues raised by Trustees that the Board considered would benefit the College. The Trustees, however, have continued to act duplicitously, as evidenced by this latest demand.

It is a matter of great regret and sadness that this iconic school has suffered significantly due to the self-interested actions of a few individuals. The Board of Directors will continue to take necessary action, including legal steps, to prevent the closure of Jaffna School.

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