Eight UPNG students confirm receipt of exclusion letter

Eight Student Representative Council (SRC) members of the University of Papua New Guinea have confirmed receiving the letter of exclusion from the pro vice-chancellor’s office.

The document, dated August 9, advised the students of their permanent exclusion from UPNG due to their involvement in the May to July student unrest.

In a letter to the administration this morning, SRC male vice-president Arthur Amos said the decision was harsh and unfair.

“Student leaders represent the voice of the students, who have given them the mandate,” Amos stated.

“The motives of the student leaders and students were pure and there were no political affiliations or attachments, as alleged by many.”

He pointed out that a referendum was conducted in early May, where more than 3500 students’ signatures were collected.

“That was more than two-thirds of the student population that have agreed to stage the fight against PM Peter O’Neill.”

Amos stressed that the burning of vehicles and destruction to school properties on June 23 was not done by student leaders; they were already restrained by the court from taking part in activities contrary to their status as students.

“This is a separate issue altogether as it involved drunkards and the Uniforce, as stated by the university acting chancellor.”

However, UPNG acting chancellor, Dr Nicholas Mann, posed this question to Loop PNG: “Who should be held answerable to the things that have resulted from the boycott of classes? The harassment, violence, the clash with security, burning of vehicles and damages to buildings, who should be held responsible?

“If a law is broken, should the law-breaker be held responsible or should we say, ‘Oh it’s ok, it happens’?

“The 4000-plus students were led by the SRC. Therefore if the University is to return to normal, should we allow those who led the students to misbehave, return?

“What about the safety of the anti-boycott group?”

Dr Mann stressed that they want normalcy to return where students can study peacefully and complete their education.

(File picture of UPNG SRC president Kenneth Rapa addressing the student body on May 4.)

Carmella Gware