The recent chaos and riots that shook the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has reinforced the need for a critical look at security on all university campuses in the country.
Before we delve deep into the unfortunate incident, The Chronicle would like to paint this picture – the current authorities of our university find it very difficult to see students in universities as being ‘mature’ because they are too young, and so are being treated like Senior High School (SHS) students!
On the other hand, university students think no matter how young they are, once they are university students they must be allowed to behave the way they want.
The above picture is the foundation on which current disturbances on university campuses rest.
To The Chronicle, the dissolution of the governing Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), after the violent protest by students, is in the right direction, even though a little late
The Chronicle sincerely believes the authorities at KNUST either refused or failed to manage the situation on campus very well, and must be held accountable for whatever happened.
Equally, students who may be found guilty, after thorough investigations, should also be sanctioned.
The Chronicle is indeed sad that there were clear signals about the violence in a research which had been earlier conducted by some students of the school for academic purposes, with recommendations made to find lasting solutions, but it appears the authorities ignored the red lights.
The research, titled ‘KNUST security service and the students: A strained relationship’, highlighted how students had been affected severally – physically and psychologically – by abuse and torture meted out to them by security personnel on campus. It also underlined, among other things, that KNUST ‘does not take security as serious as they should’.
The student researchers, through personal interviews with students of the school, witnesses, heads of security of the school, an officer of the Ghana Police Service, judges and lecturers of the Faculty of Law, compiled responses.
According to information contained in the research, ‘students had become victims of abuse in the hands of these campus security personnel’.
The Chronicle is worried that per the research, students are abused (through assault and battery) during arrests, even when students submit to their authority. The research further states that students are also detained on unreasonable grounds and for unreasonable time periods, and even during detention some students are beaten and tortured into giving information about crimes they know nothing about.
To us, at The Chronicle, if really all these have occurred on the KNUST campus, one would then naturally conclude that what happened was bound to happen, even though we would have been better off without it.
But, again, the students must be told that enrolling to acquire a set of knowledge and skills from an academic institution means you must conform to the rules and regulations of that institution.
We believe that after what has brought shame to both authorities and students at KNUST, all other university authorities students would take lessons from it and map out better strategies to live peacefully on campuses.
The Chronicle would be glad to see the university authorities bringing out the best in students who are next to take up leadership positions on national matters.