KNUST lecturers declare indefinite strike over interim council

BY: graphic.com.gh
Seven-member IMC takes charge of KNUST
Seven-member IMC takes charge of KNUST

Lecturers at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have declared an indefinite strike effective Friday following recent happenings at the university.

According to the lecturers, they are displeased with government’s dissolution of the governing council and the subsequent inauguration of a seven-member interim council to run the affairs of the university for the next three months.

Useful links Ghana Politics | Ghana Celebrity News | News in Ghana

The lecturers have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the exclusion of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Kwasi Obiri Danso from the interim council and the inclusion of the President of the Student Representative Council (SRC), Kelvin Sah in the interim council.

Government on Thursday dissolved the Governing Council of the university and in its place constituted an interim council following events that led to a violent demonstration by students and subsequent closure of the university.

The interim council has been mandated to oversee the day-to-day running of the school and ensure that the school is reopened within 14 days to enable academic work to continue.


Useful links Ghana news | Ghana Business News | News in Ghana

But the lecturers say they do not recognise the council and will not work with its members when school is reopened.

On Thursday, the National President of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), Dr Eric Opoku Mensah said they were not consulted and do not have a representation on the interim council.

He said UTAG sees the dissolution of the council as a “smokescreen” aimed at removing Prof Kwasi Obiri-Danso as Vice Chancellor and described the action by government as "most disappointing."

for current Ghana news | Ghana Business News | News in Ghana

"We are appalled; we are surprised at what is happening. If the government decides that it is going to set up an Interim Management Committee and decides to put the SRC President there but forgets about other major stakeholders and the vice-chancellor himself, this is surprising.

"We saw this coming and we know what the government wants to do with respect to the future of the vice-chancellor. UTAG is a major stakeholder in education in universities in Ghana and we are not going to sit down for this thing to happen,” he said.

Read also: UTAG accuses govt of plotting to remove KNUST VC

Below is a copy of the UTAG statement

PRESS RELEASE:

RELIEFS AND WITHDRAWAL OF TEACHING AND LIBRARY SERVICES

Following the destructive demonstration of the students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, on Monday, October 22, 2018, which among other occurrences resulted in the dissolution of the University's Governing Council by Government, the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), KNUST Branch, held an emergency meeting today, October 26, 2018, at the Great Hall. At the meeting, members deliberated on several issues relating to the destructive demonstration and Government's action and noted the following:

1. That the destructive actions of the students, which were a first of its kind in the history of the University, have led to the traumatization and feeling of insecurity of many of its members and other staff;

2. That the extensive nature of the destruction caused by the students on campus, would need a considerable amount of time and effort to bring the state of the University to normalcy.

3. That the conversion of all halls to coed facilities as being one of the perceived causes of the disturbances apparently is not the case.

4. That the dissolution of the University's Governing Council is totally illegitimate, unacceptable and wrong as per the Statutes of the University.

5. That there are enough provisions and mechanisms enshrined in the Act and Statutes of the University for resolution of issues such as the present impasse;

i.e.

6. That the current and some previous actions of Government and its assigns relating to governance of public universities suggest subtle political interference and attack on academic freedom.

7. That immediately following the disturbances, the University Management had engaged the Student Leadership and was making progress towards an amicable resolution of the students' grievances.

In view of the above and others that we do not find appropriate to place in the public domain, UTAG resolved as follows:

1. That it does not recognize the so-called interim council arrangement by Government.

2. That there MUST be immediate restoration of the University Council, whilst respecting Government's right to replace any of its appointees to the Council.

3. That Government should allow the Council, when restored, to resolve the current impasse in accordance with the Act and Statutes of the University.

4. That, with immediate effect, UTAG withdraws all teaching and library services until the above demands are met by Government.

Professor Eric K. Forkuo President, UTAG-KNUST