A former President of the National Union of Ghana Students, Frank Annoh-Dompeh is calling on the authorities of the University of Cape Coast where students riots have led to the closure of the Casely Hayford Hall, to temper justice with mercy and reopen the hall for the students.
He said, the decision by the school authorities to close the hall at a time when students are preparing for their end of semester examinations is "unfortunate and hasty."
Mr Annor-Dompeh, who is also a former resident of the Casford hall, as it is popularly called, expressed these sentiments in a statement copied to The Statesman yesterday.
He noted that, since it is not all students who were involved in the riots and other indecent behavior, it is not fair for the authorities to make all of them suffer for something they know nothing about.
While condemning the acts of the students, he said, the students should learn from the incident and ensure that they refrain from similar acts that have the tendency to disrupt their academic work, the sole purpose for which they were admitted into the university.
"Hall week celebrations should be a period of true reflection for the university, the fun aspect should be well managed to showcase the maturity and importance of university education," he opined.
It will be recalled that On Wednesday April 2, 2008, the University issued a Press Statement in which it announced the immediate closure of one of its halls of residence, Casely Hayford Hall, following violent clashes between students resident in the hall and those of the Atlantic Hall. The students are however allowed to continue with academic work.
The clashes, were characterized by stone throwing between residents of the two halls and the alleged kidnapping of one student of Casford who claims he was stripped and assaulted.
The National Union of Ghana Students has also appealed to the University authorities on behalf of the students asking that they be allowed back into the Hall to prepare for the approaching semester examinations. The NUGS also described the decision to close the Hall as harsh.
The school authorities cited "the need to restore law and order to the Hall resulted from the behaviour of the Casely Hayford students on April 1, 2008 when students took illegal actions following the cancellation of their 2008 Hall Week Celebrations by the University. But before the events are addressed, it will be necessary to look briefly at the recent history of disturbances emanating from this Hall" as one of the reasons for which the hall was closed.
They also said the closure was in response to reports by the Hall Administration, both the Junior Common Room Committee and the Hall Master's Office, that they had "lost control" of the Hall; and third, to safeguard life and property in Casely Hayford Hall in particular and the University in general.