Legon UTAG summons Nat’l Security Minister over ‘intrusion’ during SRC polls

The University of Ghana branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has officially invited the Minister of National Security to explain the circumstances that led to the presence of National Security operatives on campus during last Wednesday’s student elections.

The lecturers claim the move violates academic freedom and the Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, must apologise for the “infringement” immediately.

The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) went to the polls on Wednesday, October 20 to elect new members for the executive for the next academic year.

But National Security officers were reported to have stealthily been on campus to monitor the polls after picking intelligence of possible commotion.

This seems not to have gone down well with the lecturers though some senior officials of the university justified the move.

“The University of Ghana branch of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG) takes serious exception to the intrusion and strongly condemns it as a blatant move to undermine academic freedom and the right of students to freely exercise their democratic choice,” a statement issued on Monday, October 25 by UG-UTAG said.

“Any official of the University who may have granted an interview to suggest a justification of such intrusion by the National Security may have misspoken.

“By the Basic Laws of the University, universities are entitled to enjoy some institutional autonomy, and their campuses are expected to be out of reach of security personnel, except where invited by the management of the universities themselves. To ensure law and order, public universities have their own security personnel, and can call on the regular security agencies for reinforcement when the need arises.”

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Jointly signed by UG-UTAG President Dr Samuel Nkumbaan and Secretary Professor Ransford Gyampo, it further explained that even where such deployment becomes necessary, there must be some conditions met.

“The National Security intrusion, violates the rights of not only the students, but academics and staff who together constitute the academic community. Students have the right to conduct their elections and select those who must lead them, and the universities have their own internal security arrangements that competently oversees such processes.

“We, therefore, condemn the National Security intrusion on campus as an attack on academic freedom. We unequivocally assert our right to academic freedom as provided under the 1992 Constitution and invite the Minister for National Security to provide an explanation and apology for this infringement.

“We further give notice that, we will not condone any such intrusion in the future.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana