By Iddi Muhayu-Deen
I am completely aghast at the reasons being advanced by the authorities of UCC for rusticating some 22 students of the school over the recent clashes with students of KNUST and UG during a Hall Week Celebration. Let me start by saying that the word, RUSTICATE, within our educational setting, is a euphemistic way of saying, SACK. Initially when I heard they were rusticated [sacked], NOT because they were involved in the clashes, but because they are the student leaders and executives of the Hall, I didn’t want to believe it.
In fact, I rubbished that reason, thinking it was a big JOKE, until last
I put it to them that they are not telling us the truth. And that, they are using these innocent students as scapegoats to cover for their FAILURE to conduct proper investigation into the clashes in order to bring the actual PERPETUATORS to justice. If indeed they used the principle of ultimate responsibility as they are claiming, then surely everybody within the chain of responsibility including the Dean of Students, his Vice and the Hall Manager, ought to face similar sanction. That is what we call fairness and justice. Anything short of this, is a GROSS INJUSTICE, which should not be coming from people who ought to know better.
I don’t expect university lecturers (comprising doctors and professors) to be meting out such injustices to their students. This, I regret to say, is a betrayal of “book long things” and that saddens me big time. They seem to have little appreciation of the principle of ultimate responsibility, or they are simply being disingenuous. You claim you are rusticating the student leaders because of ‘ultimate responsibility principle’ and yet, the Hall Master as well as the Dean of Student Affairs, both of whom exercise DIRECT SUPERVISION over the students, are NOT affected by this same principle.
Okay, I understand them. They can’t touch their colleague lecturers. The lecturers are doctors and professors. They have right. They are big men. But the 22 student leaders are very ordinary. They must suffer the consequences of the actions of other students. They have no right and so, they deserve unjust treatment. Why don’t you clap hands for the UCC authorities for redefining logic? They are the only people that understand the kind of logic they profess. Surely, we must STOP them before they make us lose our faculties. “Nyansafo), mu w) hen?” [in Prof. Martey’s voice].
Everybody must rise up and call them to order. I’m happy a High Court in Cape Coast is intervening in the matter. Our courts are working after all. These are the kinds of injustices that I expect everybody to speak against. Why are the students of UCC not doing much? Why are the students of Legon, UEW, UDS, KNUST etc quiet? What happens to student solidarity, which underpins the very enterprise of student activism? Where is NUGS? Has the umbrella body of Ghanaian students lost its relevance? I thought we always say, Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta! Remember, injustice anywhere, is a monumental THREAT to justice everywhere.
I personally said I was not going to comment on matters involving student activism, having served the student movement for the past 4-years at the highest level and now transitioned into a much bigger territory for God and country. But this particular issue will compel even a dead man to break his silence and so, why not the living soul in me? My mother will not even be proud of me. Enough is enough! The students of Ghana have suffered enough injustices from the hands of people who should know better.
As we speak, the students of the Ghana School of Surveying and Mapping (GSSM), which happens to be the only school of Surveying and Mapping in Ghana, have been asked to go home for protesting against attempts being made to sacrifice their school for a Shopping Mall. Yes, you heard me, a shopping mall. That is how “crazy” we have become. I know you are as shocked as some people in a comfortable lead and cruising to a certain victory. This is NOT the Ghana I want to be proud of. Let’s fix the right rib and NOW. I want to be able to continue calling myself, a CITIZEN of Ghana and NOT a spectator.
Former NUGS Secretary/Youth Activist