A group of masked students gathered last week by the busy road outside the John Donaldson Technical Institute at the University of Trinidad and Tobago to demand the reinstatement of local animation pioneer, festival founder and their animation teacher, Camille Selvon Abrahams. The protesters claimed that Abrahams was fired “illegally” from her position as program administrator of the Digital Media Department earlier this month, when she was dismissed without formal warning and removed from campus by security, according to her earlier statements.
The students, who wore Guy Fawkes masks now globally associated with the group Anonymous, told the Trinidad Express that the “shocking” move by the department, which they claim was made in order to instate a friend of one of the UTT executives, will “destroy the department” and impact their future careers. “We are in animation, so expect more protest using that artform,” one participant told an Express reporter.
Abrahams was hired by UTT in 2008 and tasked with designing the university’s animation program. She has been a crucial force in driving the development of the local animation and filmmaking community, and is the founder and creative director of the annual Animae Caribe festival. She stated at the time of her firing that she was being removed for not having a PhD. University provost Dr. Fazal Ali has told local media that the decision was part of “restructuring” the digital media arts curriculum.