The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has issued a warning to all its students, stating it will no longer tolerate crude and sexually offensive conducts, particularly from male students.
Chancellor of the university, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II indicated lewd behaviours done in the name of traditions and culture is unjustifiable, hence such acts will not be entertained by the university authorities.
“Lewd male students’ behaviour in the presence of female students in the name of culture and traditions is not justifiable under any circumstances,” the Asantehene said at a special congregation for Masters and Doctorate degree students at the weekend.
His comment comes on the back of the university’s ban on the annual “morale” jamboree by the school’s Katanga Hall last year, which triggered protests and caused students to vandalise school property.
The ‘Friday Night Morale’ which is seen as a tradition in the University, is said to have been used by the students to engage in vulgar and sexually explicit acts.
A notice by the University in October 2018 read: ”Notice is hereby given that all forms of ‘morales’ in and around the University Hall are suspended with immediate effect. This decision was taken in view of several negative issues encountered recently with respect to morales in the hall”.
It warned that anyone who flouts the directive would be given the necessary sanction and response.
But aggrieved students of the Unity and University halls who on October 19, 2018 decided to hold a vigil to protest the decision were allegedly assaulted by the University security causing serious injuries to some of them.
The issue among other decisions of the University, on October 21, 2018 caused the student body to hold a peaceful protest on campus but turned violent and led to the destruction of university property.
The School authorities were forced by the tension at the time to send the students packing home and the Governing Council subsequently dissolved by government which put in place an interim one to among other things, ensure the re-opening of the school and establish the cause of the violence.
The Asantehene in an apparent reference to the ‘morale’ tradition of the university indicated any culture that is not dynamic eventually dies.
The events of October 22, the Asantehene Otumfuo said, pained him.
“I’m sure there’s no one associated in anyway with the university who has not felt a sense of shame as a result of those events,” he stated, warning that as long as he remain the chancellor, he would ensure the rules of the university are strictly adhered to.
He stated: “Let me assure the university community, that for as long as i remain the chancellor the act establishing the university and the statutes of the university shall always reign supreme”.
Otumfuo reminded the student body and all stakeholders that universities are run on regulations to make the academic space tolerable for all, and in view of that, order must be kept and rules followed to allow the students have the freedom to operate without intimidation.
“In the history of KNUST, whenever demonstrations have occurred, never have students turned inwards and destroyed their own property and that of staff of the university,” he observed.
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The Asantehene has going forward asked all stakeholders to exercise tact, diplomacy and dialogue in all their engagements.