The Management of the University of Ghana has suspended the Hall Master and Senior Tutor of the Commonwealth Hall for their inaction that caused the clash between residents of their hall and those in Mensah Sarbah Hall.
According to the Management, the two did not exhibit a sufficient willingness and ability to hold students of the hall accountable for their actions in the recent violent clashes.
“These officers should, therefore, in the interim, be relieved of their duties while management works with the security services to investigate the clashes, and works towards finding lasting solutions to the tensions between students of the two halls,” Management said.
This is among other recommendations made by an investigative committee set up by the University Council.
In a statement published on its website, the University's Management said, “The University Council, at its meeting on Thursday, 11th August 2022, discussed the report of an investigative committee on the clashes between students of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah Halls that took place on Friday 5th August and Saturday 6th August 2022.
The statement added that “Council noted that clashes between students of the two halls have become progressively more frequent and violent, and stressed the need for urgent action to stop these clashes and ease the tensions between students of the two halls.”
The University, therefore, outlined the following decisions in line with Sections 16 (2) and 22 (1a) of the University of Ghana Act, 2010, Act 806, and Section 9 (i) of the University's statutes:
i. Management of the University should continue to work on measures to interrogate the root and immediate causes of the tensions between students of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah Halls and put in place measures to eliminate these.
Requisite actions should be taken to ensure the success of these measures.
ii. No events organized by students, should be held for the remainder of the 2021/2022 academic year without the express approval of the Dean of Student Affairs.
ii. Students who are offered places in halls of residence should be made to sign undertakings to be of good behaviour.
iv. To ensure accountability of hall officials to University authorities, the Vice-Chancellor should appoint key officers in all halls of residence, based on recommendations from the halls, in a similar way that heads of department are appointed. To this end, a standard procedure for the election/appointment of hall officials should be addressed in the ongoing revisions to the University's Statutes.
v. The composition of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah Halls should be reviewed.
vi. Management of the two affected halls is to be held accountable for their actions and inactions for the persistent riots.
vii. The Hall Master and Senior Tutor of Commonwealth Hall have not exhibited sufficient willingness and ability to hold students of the hall accountable for their actions in the recent violent clashes. These officers should, therefore, in the interim, be relieved of their duties while management works with the security services to investigate the clashes, and works toward finding lasting solutions to the tensions between students of the two halls.
viii. Commonwealth Hall is to be surcharged with the cost of damages to property in the vicinity of Mensah Sarbah Hall, in the recent clashes.
ix. The Junior Common Room (JCR) Presidents of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah Halls should be referred to the Disciplinary Committee for Junior Members, for their actions and inactions leading to and after the riots.
The statement further noted that “Management is in the process of implementing the decisions of Council, and is providing assistance to the Ghana Police Service in their investigations to identify the perpetrators. The Police are assisting management to ensure that the implementation of these actions does not lead to further rioting, and there is therefore a presence of police officers on the University's Legon campus.
An online portal has been provided for submission of tips, names, documents, pictures and videos that will help bring the perpetrators of the clashes to book. Information should be submitted to: https://ugra.ug.edu.gh/Commonwealth-Sarbahhotline/#/
All submissions to the portal will be kept totally anonymous and risk-free, and members of the University community are encouraged to submit any relevant information.”
Management assured members of the University community that, “it will continue to put in place measures to ensure that academic work and other activities proceed smoothly. Management also provides assurance of its commitment to safeguarding peace and stability on all campuses of the University.”