By Frederick E. Aggrey .
Students of Unity Hall, popularly known as Katanga Hall, and their rivals Continentals, have planned a massive demonstration on the principal streets of Accra to ram home their disapproval and resistance to the conversion of the two into mixed halls.
The demonstration, which is being organised by some concerned students, is to petition the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, that the decision should be overturned.
According to the students, the measure fails to address the root cause of the problem. They argue that the problem of the halls has to do with lack of facilities, and not the fact that they are single sex halls.
The students further contend that the halls have produced unparalleled great human resources for the country, thus, soaring the image (goodwill) of the school, which, in itself, is an asset to the school, in spite of their hydra-headed problems.
The demonstration is expected to begin at the Arko Adjei (Sankara) Interchange, and end at the Jubilee House for presentation of a petition to the President.
It would be recalled that the management of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in January this year, announced its decision to convert the two male halls into mixed halls to give 50 percent of the space to female students, in spite of fierce opposition by executives and residents of the two halls and their alumina to the move.
“The next academic year, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology intends to get females into the two predominantly male halls, and the minimum females to be in resident will be of 50 percent,” the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of KNUST, Kwame Yeboah, said.
However, in fierce opposition to the move, the Alumni of Unity Hall, Old Continentals Association, and current Junior Common Room executives, have sued the management of the university, seeking a court injunction restraining it from converting the all-male hall to unisex.
The suit is against the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Obiri Danso, the Chairman of the University Council, and Hall Master of Unity Hall.
The university is alleged to have already allocated nine continuing female students to the rival University Hall in the first batch of students assigned residential status.
In a related development, the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, is alleged to have given his support to the decision by the management of the university.
According to him, the move would create an equal and level playing field for all and sundry.
“Recently, in Unity Hall, there was a demonstration, because the university had attempted to make it a mixed hall. I received the protest notes, but my conscience told me if there is any hall that can be made a mixed hall, it is, of course, Unity Hall… If we want to create an equal, level playing field, we cannot insist that Katanga or Unity, or any hall, should be reserved for a particular group. So, Katanga, take the women, be bold,” he added.