Egerton University vice-chancellor Rose Mwonya has been suspended amid a cash-flow crisis at the Nakuru-based institution.
Prof Mwonya was suspended on Monday with Prof Alexander Kahi directed to take over in an acting capacity.
The university declined to disclose reasons behind the executive changes with sources at the institution linking the move to financial mismanagement.
“It is true she has been suspended effective September 10 and Professor Alexander Kahi directed to take over in an acting capacity,” said Dr Joshua Otieno, the chair of the University Council, the public varsities governing body.
He said he would give more details on the suspension upon his return from an official trip abroad. The suspension follows a meeting held on September 7 as the university struggles to remain afloat. The university has also announced a lay off plan and a cut on allowances as cash flow reduces.
However, Prof Mwonya, who rose to the helm in January 2016, denied receiving any official communication from the council, insisting that she still remains in office.
“According to me I am still in office because I have not received the purported letter, ordering me to vacate office,” she said.
The changes come as the university struggles to meet its obligations following a cash crunch caused by a drop in student enrollment for the parallel degree programme.
The university is the latest to announce austerity measures following the sharp drop in the number of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates scoring the C+ and above.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows Egerton University enrollment declined to 11,593 last year from 13,928 in 2015.
making it the first drop since the government started disclosing student numbers in the 1990s.
The number of students enrolling for the lucrative parallel degree, which has been the institution’s money minting machine over the past decade, has also dropped.
Prof Mwonya did not indicate how many staff will be retrenched or timelines for the layoffs. The University has about 1,946 employees.