On behalf of the Student body of the University of Ghana, I wish to express our solidarity to students of Casley Hayford Hall- University of Cape Coast and call on all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency, intervene in what has become a humanitarian crisis with telling effects on academic work, student lives and properties.
As regrettable as the alleged scaffold, which forms the basis of the current impasse, is to us, we insist that if the closure of the hall was meant to solve the problem then clearly it has failed, as it remains the cause of a very polarized and complicated situation that has assumed a bigger problem than it attempted to address.
The University of Ghana SRC in its quest to be part of the solution sent a delegation (which included the SRC Vice President, The JCR Presidents of Commonwealth and Akuafo Halls, former Hall Presidents, SRC Press and Information Secretary as well as other student opinion leaders) to the Campus of the University of Cape Coast over the weekend to have a first hand information on the state of affairs. The delegation after several talks with the executive of the JCRC of Casley Hayford hall, some SRC Executives, students and the executives of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) – who at the time were on campus – maintains that:
the students of the affected Hall in no way pose a security threat to the campus and state; but the continuous closure of the Hall rather keeps the University on a time bomb that can go of any time in as far as the agitations and frustrations of students gathers momentum. Again the disguised arrest of the JCRC Executives of Casley Hayford hall as well as the attempts to denounce recognition for their office as it suits the situations and the continuous harassment of known members of the hall makes attempts at finding real solution to the problem very difficult if not impossible.
Our recommendations are thus that:
1. In the larger interest of the University of Cape Coast, Management should immediately take steps to open the Hall unconditionally since the continuous closure aggravate the problem rather than solve it.
2. All parties to this case should eschew ego centric power play, and abuse of state and institutional machinery, ensuring that, no matter the genesis of the supposed crisis, great regard is given to the socio-academic welfare of the students and the development of the University of Cape Coast as a centre for quality higher learning and student culture.
3. The Ministry of Education, Science and Sports is by this statement being requested to intervene immediately and particularly assume the responsibility of forming an independent committee that would take over the terms of reference of the internally constituted committee and it should include all parties. This would erode the impression that the University is a judge in its own court.
4. We encourage our colleague students to conduct themselves in a manner that does not jeopardize our continuous enjoyment of public support, opinion and goodwill; for our collective benefit rests on this, especially as this forms our shield against some of the deliberate efforts and attempts to distort the facts and our credibility.
5. We are by this release petitioning the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in particular as well as the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, the Legal Resources Centre and all well meaning citizens of Ghana to immediately involve themselves in this matter to halt the on going human rights abuses.
We shall continue our monitoring of the situation. However, we bemoan the seemingly lack of interest and commitment of the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) in this case, especially when an Emergency Congress was held on the premises of the University of Cape Coast and the thrust of the focus was on a strategic plan and other peripherals. We will want to encourage the current leadership to wake up, because, as long as such situations remain, the supposed strategic plan only becomes a useless material except for external political credence of the leadership. The foundation and continuous strength of the Union, undoubtedly, lies in students finding the leadership taking interest and showing zealous commitment directly to issues that affect their welfare and reason for being in school. After all, that remains the spirit behind the commissioning of NUGS.
Long live the student struggle
Long live selfless and patriotic student leaders
Long live Ghana
Short live all forms of oppression and suppression.
Nii Adokwei Codjoe
(SRC Vice President - 024 9220472)
Issued on Tuesday, April 8, 2008
The Minister of Education, Science and Sports
Chairman, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education
Association of African Universities (AAU)
Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast
SRC President, University of Cape Coast
JCRC President, Casley Hayford Hall