The Administration of the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County, has suspended 18 students for their alleged involvement in the January 28, 2013 stampede that led to the destruction of properties on the school’s campus.
The University’s Dean of Student Services, Prince Valentine Sampson, said the students were suspended following findings submitted by a Special Investigation Committee set up the administration and the board of Trustees to conduct an investigation into the January 28 violence.
Mr. Sampson told journalists that the Special Investigation Committee’s findings linked the students to the violence in which windshields of three vehicles were smashed. Two of the damaged vehicles are properties of the University and one is a private vehicle belonging to acting registrar of the University, Mr. Anthony Siakor. Window glasses of homes of some faculty members were also smashed during the melee.
The students - some graduating seniors, were suspended for between two to four semesters.
One of the affected students, according to Dean Sampson, is Prince Teahjay, a senior student and former presidential candidate in the Cuttington University Student Union elections. Prince Teahjay was defeated in a CUSU presidential election by one David Fehnkpolo.
Teahjay who is a very popular student on campus is respected by most of his colleagues for being very vocal on issues relating to the welfare of students on the school’s campus.
Back in November 2012, Teahjay attempted CUSU election against student Robert Clarke but the election was cancelled because the University’s administration contended that Teahjay did not have the required GPA to contest for the presidency, even though he was certificated by the elections commission to participate after scrutinizing his documents.
The current Vice President of the Cuttington University Student Union Prince Saye Doelah, along with three others, was suspended for two semesters, while 13 students will serve a semester suspension. Dean Sampson did not say what was Doelah’s involvement in the violence.
Mr. Sampson told journalists that based upon the recommendation from the Special Investigation Committee the school administration reached the decision that the suspended students’ last semester credits declared null and void and the students made to restitute cost of destruction that characterized the January 28, 2013 violence.
Mr. Sampson said the decision is consistent with the rules and regulations of the university’s policy.
The January violence erupted when the administration of the Cuttington University declared reducing electricity and water supplies on the campus from 6:00pm to 10:00pm instead of the 6:00pm to 12 midnight regular time without forewarning the students.
According to Dr. Joshua D. B. Giddings, Cuttington University’s Vice President for Public Relations, the administration arrived at the decision at the time due to financial difficulties to continue the regular supply of electricity and water.
On the question of whether the student leadership was part of the decision to cut down the electricity and water supplies to four hours, Dr. Giddings said that the students were adequately informed and aware of the financial constraints the institution was undergoing.
"We informed them that the exercise was not going to last long," Dr. Giddings said. "We made it clear that as soon as we received payments from institutions that owed the university, regular electricity and water supplies would be restored." He said it was the first time the university cut down its power supply following the end of the civil war.
The January 28 violence is not the first in recent years. A similar incident occurred in 2007 on the University’s campus when, according to the students, the administration was doing nothing to improve their wellbeing on campus. The situation was put under control by then Education Minister Dr. Joseph D.Z. Korto.