KNUST vandalism: We ‘had it up to our neck’; authorities denied us dialogue – SRC

General News of Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

2018-10-23

Some students ‘hit back’ at authorities Monday for what they say is a violation of their rights

The Student Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has risen to the defense of the student body in the face of recent chaos that hit the school.

In a statement capturing vivid descriptions of events as the unfolded, President of the Council, Kelvin Sah explained how authorities of the university, prior to this, severally, turned deaf ears to attempts by the student leadership to bargain for a dialogue on grave issues that were bothersome to students.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back according to them, is the fact that the school heads, failed to acknowledge their grievances after some unarmed students were allegedly assaulted by armed security personnel on the school’s premises during a vigil on Friday October 19th 2018.

The students, the statement indicated, were merely ‘peacefully marching’ through the various halls of the school to submit a petition to the Vice Chancellor after duly acquiring permission from the District Police Command to do so. They got infuriated after police personnel fired warning shots; an indication to them, that the university’s management was disregarding the rights of students.

“We resumed this semester only to be faced with incidents of intimidation from these same personnel who have been hired under the watch of the university, to protect the lives of students. We recorded severe molestation and instances of beatings by these security personnel. Serious reports were made to the head of security unit, the dean of students and the vice chancellor……….In such an institution of higher learning, one would expect that issues like these be sorted out through dialogue, however, regretfully, the school authorities keep avoiding dialogue with students but rather resort to using force and intimidation to get things done”, portions of the statement read.

“The university authorities have systematically sought to undermine students by taking arbitrary decisions without any regard for the views of students”, the statement further said.

Additionally, the SRC noted, it was very uncalled for and unwarranted, the brutalities and attacks on students of the institution. According to them, the rights of a person ‘must not’ under any circumstance be violated regardless of what crime they might have committed.

“No matter the crimes a person has committed, they do not deserve to be stripped off their human rights in that manner. The laws of the country are very particular about this; however, security men in KNUST with orders from above, have continuously taken the law into their own hands and beaten up students with sticks, dragged them on the floor, used tasers on them. We have no problem with security men keeping the peace on campus as is their responsibility, but to the point where tasers are used on students, then there is a bigger problem that must be addressed”, it read.

For the SRC therefore, they “stand by the students”. Curtailing student brutality, they continued, has been their only aim since this all begun and ‘any attempt to propagate any other narrative is false and must be rejected by all. All they seek, they concluded, is for their rights as students and student leaders to be rightfully acknowledged and respected by showing willingness to dialogue.

Below is the full statement

Background

Protests turned violent on the university’s campus after school authorities allegedly manhandled some students who were having a vigil at the forecourt of the hall Friday after management of the University had served notice that it had suspended the organisation of vigils, also known as ‘morales’ in the school.

10 students, and one alumnus, were arrested on Friday and subsequently, students threatened a demonstration to register their displeasure at what they describe as ‘harsh’ treatments being metted out to them by authorities.

The strike which included boycotting lectures became intense when some students in the Katanga hall in their agitation, destroyed some school property’s and ransacked the office of the Vice Chancellor.

They also burned down the official vehicle of the Dean of Students and ransacked security post on the school’s premises.

The Regional Security Council and university authorities closed down the school indifinitely on Monday October 22 after students went ‘frenzy’ and destroyed several school properties and properties of some authorities. REGSEC also imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew on the school.

Students of the school Tuesday morning, were seen packing their belongings following the school’s shut down

and the Regional Minister’s announcement that Ghanaian students had up to 12:00 noon Tuesday to vacate the premises.

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