The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the conversion of the school’s single-sex halls to mixed halls by the university authorities.
The students, on Friday, 17 August 2018, petitioned the Chancellor of the university, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II over the same matter.
The university authorities say the conversion of the halls is to make room for the admission of more female students but the students and alumni have strongly kicked against the move.
They want the university authorities to find alternative measures to shoring up the female population on campus without changing the status quo.
Below is the full petition to the president:
The Office of the President,
PETITION TO REVIEW THE DECISION OF CONVERSION OF SINGLE SEX HALLS TO MIXED HALLS
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of KNUST petitions to your high office on behalf of the entire student populace for the review of the University’s decision on the conversion of the single-sex halls to mixed halls on the grounds set below;
1. Weeks before this current SRC administration came into office, it was announced at our Students Chaplaincy Council (SCC) inter-denominational church service that measures were being put in place to convert two of the single-sex halls, Unity Hall and University Hall into mixed halls.
2. The University indicated that the rationale behind the conversion was that the University wanted to increase the number of female students on campus.
3. Students reacted with displeasure to the news received and the then SRC administration also expressed their disagreement with the decision.
4. On assumption of office, the current SRC executives called for meetings with the Vice Chancellor and the Dean of Students to express our displeasure with the conversion and also to open up for re-negotiation to bring out alternative measures to put in place to best address the issue of female population on campus.
5. We were not able to reach a consensus as the Vice Chancellor continued to implement the decision on the conversion although we thoroughly assessed the risks and how our image as an SRC and that of the University would be affected.
6. On 15th August, 2018, the University released a communique informing the general public of the University’s decision to make all halls mixed. Thus, Africa Hall, which is the only female hall in the university, will now be a mixed hall.
7. The conversion of Africa Hall only goes a long way to defeat the purpose for which the conversion of the two male halls was to be done, i.e. to increase the female population on campus. This is because, by converting Africa Hall, over 300 females they sought to keep on campus have now been displaced.
8. We take this opportunity to express our displeasure on the Vice Chancellor’s refusal to consult the SRC in some of the decisions that concern student welfare, with specific reference to the recent conversion of Africa Hall into a mixed hall.
9. The University’s approach to the conversion of the halls has caused a lot of public outrage among the students and some alumni of the university, with some students threatening to resort to violence if the decision is not rescinded.
10. As at now we have a lot of females who have gained admission into KNUST but are not willing to report to campus because their safety is not guaranteed as a result of this issue.
11. In as much as we are seeking to address the grievances of students we are also concerned about the safety of every student especially the incoming freshmen. Thus, if a decision will bring the least backlash that will threaten the safety of students, then the SRC has the duty to intervene.
12. By this petition, we ask;
a) That you intervene in the matter to get the University to have a review on issues thus far, and get the best result which will favour the entire student populace.
b) That alternative measures are put in place to curb the issue of female population on campus.
c) That the Vice Chancellor respects our mandate to have a say in directions of affairs as his current behaviour and disposition only proves that he has no regard for our mandate.
d) That the interest of students be considered as paramount in all matters concerning the University as there cannot be any University without students.