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General News of Friday, 26 October 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

KNUST UTAG condemns Governing Council dissolution; cautions government

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), says it is surprised by government’s decision to dissolve the school’s Governing Council.

The decision to dissolve the board was taken following meetings between the government, university management and other stakeholders over the recent violent protest by students that has led to a closure of the school.

A statement from the government said a 7-member Interim Council will be put in place to oversee the affairs of the school, while the school which has been closed since Tuesday following the violence, will be opened within 14-days.

The government said the interim council will be chaired by the Paramount Chief of Bompata Traditional Area, Nana Effa Apenteng for the 3-month period it has been given to serve.

The new council is also expected to expedite the reopening of the university.

The government’s statement in justifying the need for the new interim governing council said council was “not in a position to review its own processes and decisions affecting the student body to guarantee peace.”

But the local chapter of UTAG in a statement signed by its President, Prof. Eric K. Forkuo, indicated that it is opposed to the dissolution as it “frowns on the autonomy of the University and smacks of political interference.”

It also wondered why government failed to resort to the existing Act and Statutes in resolving the issue. Some reports have suggested that the national association is also against the decision, and may hold an emergency meeting on Friday in that regard.



Below is the statement from the KNUST UTAG

The Executive Committee of the University Teachers Association of Ghana is surprised, and, indeed disturbed by the dissolution of the University’s Governing Council by government in disregard to the Act and Statutes governing the University. It is obvious that this action by government is as a result of the current impasse on campus. UTAG is of the view that there are enough provisions and mechanisms enshrined in the Act and Statutes for the resolution of such issues. We do not believe that the action taken by government is the best way to resolve the issue as it frowns on the autonomy of the University and smacks of political interference.

UTAG-KNUST, therefore, wishes to state emphatically that it does not accept this interim arrangement by government and insist on government allowing the Act and Statutes of the University to work. Should the Government insist on going forward with its interim arrangement, UTAG will have no option, other than to advise itself with immediate effect.



Background

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) led the demonstration following the arrest of 10 students and one alumnus of the school.

The Executive Council of the SRC said the demonstration was necessary to end the management’s neglect of students in decision making.

The students were arrested for a holding vigil on campus without permission according to the school authorities.

One other student who was allegedly manhandled by the internal security was hospitalized.

The KNUST management however justified the arrests, after the students were released on Saturday.