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UG Council recommends surcharge of Commonwealth Hall over Sarbah Hall clashes

BY: Kweku Zurek
UG Council recommends surcharge of Commonwealth Hall over Sarbah Hall clashes
UG Council recommends surcharge of Commonwealth Hall over Sarbah Hall clashes

The Governing Council of the University of Ghana, Legon, has recommended an indefinite suspension of the Hall Master and Senior Tutor of the Commonwealth Hall following violent clashes between members of the hall and the Mensah Sarbah hall on Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6, 2022.

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 with led to the burning of a vehicle and destruction of university property.

It will be recalled that several notice boards were destroyed and a bust of John Mensah Sarbah, situated outside the Mensah Sarbah Hall stolen during the clash.

In a statement issued Monday, 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.

A statement signed by the Registrar of UG, Emelia Agyei-Mensah said the university was in the process of implementing the decisions of the Council and is providing assistance to the Ghana Police Service in their investigations to identify the perpetrators.

The university has also created an anonymous online portal for submission of tips, names, documents, pictures and videos that will help bring the perpetrators of the clashes to book. The information is to 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," the statement said.

"Management assures 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".

See all the decisions of the Council below;

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.

iii. 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 are 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 towards 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.