Student protest now law and order issue

The student protest at the University of Papua New Guinea is now a law and order issue.

Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology secretary Professor David Kavanamur explained that after eight weeks of boycott, the situation generated into a law and order issue.

Kavanamur said the first priority is to secure the perimeters on campus to ensure that life and property are protected and create an environment that is conducive for learning.

That is the main objective in terms of restoring normalcy on campus.

Kavanamur said the university council met on Saturday, June 25, and resolved that first and foremost, the university properties are secured then allow for any potential mediation to take place this week.

He said eventually, the university senate will have to meet this week to discuss the fate of the academic year.

“The important thing is that State property and lives of both staff and students are secured,” he said.

Kavanamur added that the university security engaged on campus is down with manpower and have been working tirelessly and have not rested for the last eight weeks.

“So we are working with police to move in and treat the situation as a normal law and order situation in order to secure the campus.

“Once that is secured then the rest of the decisions about the academic year will commence but for now that’s the priority,” Kavanamur said.

UPNG acting chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann told LOOP PNG that the law enforcement agencies will have to deal with the issue to bring normalcy before anything else can be done.

Meantime, Kavanamur confirmed reports from the university that five students were taken in for questioning on the weekend.

This is part of police investigations into the issue in relation to burning of the five vehicles and the old print building.

Quintina Naime