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American University unsure if it will appeal expected campus extension rejection The American University of Malta is yet undecided on whether it will be appealing an expected decision by the Planning Authority to rejected a campus extension in Bormla. In September, all PA board members declared their intention to deny AUM a permit to extend its facilities, for the purpose of building a dormitory. No decision has in fact yet been taken by the PA, so technically, no appeal can be presented yet. The PA vote was indicative and has to be confirmed in another sitting. In comments to sister newspaper Illum today, however, AUM president Lewis Walker said that - assuming the vote against the extension is confirmed - the university had not yet decided if it would subsequently open an appeal against the board’s decision. “We are not yet certain what we will be doing. I cannot say for certain if we will appeal or not,” Walker said. Walker justified the university’s request for an extension, telling the newspaper that, while there might not be a need for a dormitory at the moment, given current student numbers, it was still necessary to plan for the future. AUM president Louis Walker “I am not saying we need the dormitory at the moment, but we need to plan beforehand. We cannot bring in more students without having the needed space,” he said. Read also: Planning Authority to reject American University extension He also defended AUM’s low student intake to date, comparing the new university to a startup company. “Every startup starts out slowly, but year after year the number of students is increasing.” Walker added that AUM wished to be sensitive to people’s concerns on the extension. “Do I understand people’s reservations entirely? Probably not, because I come from another country, but I certainly wish that we be sensitive, while at the same time developing in the appropriate way,” he said. The PA board's intention to reject the extension came after the Authority's case officer recommended its approval. As happens in cases where the board indicates it intends overturning a case officer's recommendation, the decision on whether to reject was postponed at the September hearing. The board has to now present reasons for refusal, to which AUM is entitled to reply. A decision will then be taken by the board, and it is only at this stage that an appeal can be presented. AUM will develop Żonqor campus Walker also said in no uncertain terms that the university’s proposed campus in Żonqor Point, Marsaskala, would be built. “Yes, we will be developing the site in Żonqor, in Marsaskala. As Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, we first need to reach a certain level in our operation in Bormla,” Walker said. “Once we reach such a level, we will proceed to the second stage,” he said.