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Thursday, January 28, 2021

UTG: Students, Council of Deans differ on lectures boycott

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The students are against having two different new grading systems on their transcripts.

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The students, comprising mainly second, third and fourth year undergraduates, also urged their fellow students to close ranks and stay off classes until and unless their demands are met.

By contrast, the university Council of Deans has, in a letter sent to the students and read to them on Saturday by the PRO of the Law Students’ Association, insisted that” classes will be held as scheduled in accordance with the approved academic calendar 2014-2015”. 

The letter reads: “The Deans’ meeting recognises the fact that students are always entitled to either attend or not go attend classes and that the university does not interfere in their basic rights. However, the university reserves the right to implement the academic calendar and would not expect any student to interrupt the implementation of the academic calendar. The council of deans further asserted that the failure of any students to attend classes is their choice as well as the attendant consequences.

“Furthermore, the Deans meeting made it clear it is illegal for any student to obstruct or prevent other students or lecturers from attending classes. Lecturers will be on hand to deliver lectures as scheduled. The administration is cognisant of the plight of students and the issues they have raised and shall respect their rights to air their concerns which are being look into by the university’s governing council. The administration is therefore appealing and urging the students to attend lectures while we await the outcome of the deliberation of the sub-committee of council scheduled for Monday 6 April. We wish you best of luck.”

In response, the students rejected the university’s letter as disputable and maintained their stance.

“Our response is until and unless a document is given to the students to say this is what the university is approving, we still maintain our position and I am very clear on that,” said Omar Sambou, president of the students’ union.

Sambou called on his fellows to remember that “it is our responsibility collectively protect and preserve the wellbeing of every student”.

He called for solidarity among the students and urged all students to brace themselves for the challenges that lie ahead of them.

“Our position is very clear; it is for the grading system to be brought back as it was,” he said.

A prominent student leader Bakary Fatty said they are not interested in mere statements. “We want it to be written. You cannot come verbally and tell us it [grading system] will be changed and then students go back to classes and after one or two weeks we hear information that it won’t be changed. That is not in the interest of students. That is why we want to maintain our sit-down-strike.”

Meanwhile, as the ‘sit-down strike’ continues, student representatives from various schools will meet with the governing council and the newly instituted committee on April 6 at the Faculty of Law to figure out an agreeable solution to the stalemate.  


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