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Old Vandals damn Legon's 'kangaroo court' process

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
Old Vandals in North America condemns UG authorities for using 'kangaroo court' process on campus
Old Vandals in North America condemns UG authorities for using 'kangaroo court' process on campus

The Old Vandals Association in North America (OVA-NA), has condemned the University of Ghana authorities for applying a "kangaroo court" process to deal with the recent disturbances on campus between some students of Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah halls.

In a communiqué issued by the Old Vandals Association in North America (OVA-NA) at the end of their 2022 Congress held in Maryland, USA from September 2-5, 2022, they said the "process is reminiscent of a kangaroo court and must be condemned."

In the early hours of Saturday, August 6, 2022, a vehicle parked at the Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana was set ablaze during a clash between some students of the Commonwealth and Mensh Sarbah halls.

University property was destroyed during the inter-hall fight.

Notice boards, waste containers, Veronica buckets and some vehicles were destroyed during the clash.

A bust of John Mensah Sarbah situated in front of the hall was also removed during the clash.

Related: UG on hunt for perpetrators of Commonwealth/Sarbah clashes

Later, the Governing Council of the university recommended an indefinite suspension of the Hall Master and Senior Tutor of the Commonwealth Hall.

The Council has also recommended that Commonwealth Hall be surcharged with the cost of damages to property in the vicinity of Mensah Sarbah Hall during the violent clashes which led to the burning of a vehicle and destruction of university property.

The Council noted that the clashes between students of the two halls had become progressively more frequent and violent, and stressed the need for urgent action to stop the clashes and ease the tensions between students of the two halls.

In that regard, the Council stated that "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".

In addition, students who are offered places in halls of residence would be made to sign undertakings to be of good behaviour.

Read also: UG Council recommends surcharge of Commonwealth Hall over Sarbah Hall clashes

OVA-NA reaction

Reacting to the development, the Old Vandals Association in North America questioned why "the University authorities, without an investigation that respects the due process rights of all involved have suspended Commonwealth Hall officials while Mensah Sarbah Hall officials and the Dean of Students who is statutorily responsible for campus security outside Halls is still at post."

They added: "That this conduct by the University authorities is arbitrary and recalls sadly the history of University administrations striving to render Commonwealth Hall and its proud traditions ‘impotent’.

They resolved that, the suspended Hall officials be recalled with immediate effect, that a proper inquiry be conducted to unearth the facts and circumstances of the said disturbance, that any inquiry should address the responsibility of University officials and their culpability for failing to ensure campus security and all those found culpable be subjected to disciplinary measures within the full rigors of the law.

Below is a copy of the communique

COMMUNIQUE ON DISTURBANCES ON LEGON CAMPUS

We, the members of Old Vandals Association of North America (OVA-NA), herein assembled for our annual Congress, note with regret the disturbances on the Campus of the University of Ghana that occurred on the night of Friday, August 6, 2022.

Having deliberated carefully on the facts and circumstances and noting the following:

1. That the University authorities had ample notice of the impending disturbances and yet failed to emplace adequate security measures that could have prevented the disturbances.

2. That the University authorities, without an investigation that respects the due process rights of all involved have suspended Commonwealth Hall Officials while Mensah Sarbah Hall officials and the Dean of Students who is statutorily responsible for campus security outside Halls is still at post.

3. That this process is reminiscent of a kangaroo court and must be condemned.

4. That this conduct by the University authorities is arbitrary and recalls sadly the history of University administrations striving to render Commonwealth Hall and its proud traditions ‘impotent’.

Resolve as follows:

a. That the suspended Hall Officials be recalled with immediate effect.

b. That a proper inquiry be conducted to unearth the facts and circumstances of the said disturbance.

c. That any inquiry should address the responsibility of University officials and their culpability for failing to ensure campus security.

d. That all those found culpable be subjected to disciplinary measures within the full rigors of the law.

e. That during this process the Hall authorities, OVA and individuals vigorously protect the rights of those affected.

f. That all VANDALS and Ghanaians who love justice render material and moral support to such an effort to secure justice.

OVA-NA supports this effort with a $500 USD donation to the defense fund.

OVA-NA September 5, 2022

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