UPNG calls on Mellam to prove his point

The University of Papua New Guinea students are calling on Professor Albert Mellam to prove his statement or everyone will withdraw from studies.

In a circular released last Friday, vice-chancellor Professor Mellam said: “If students absent themselves for more than two weeks then their continuation… becomes untenable after Friday, May 13, 2016.”

The students haven’t been to class for two weeks now. Since last Monday they have been boycotting classes, calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to step aside and be investigated.

A mass withdrawal will ensue if the administration meets certain conditions set by the students.

“Half of our school fees must be given back to us as well as airline tickets, pocket and book allowances,” student leader Yehingu Humungs told Loop PNG.

“The majority of the students have agreed for mass withdrawal,” the third year student said.

The decision was reached yesterday during a forum at the main Waigani campus.

This happened after the PNG Electoral Commission failed to turn up to conduct the students’ referendum.

“We went to the EC and they said they are waiting for the attorney-general to advise them whether to conduct the referendum or not. They did not want to be implicated in anything,” a member of the student representative council told Loop.

A UPNG staff told Loop that the referendum is a direct involvement between the SRC and the EC. The administration is just facilitating.

The referendum was supposed to determine if the students will continue their protest or go back to class. If more than a third of the 5000-plus students vote in favour of a protest then the fight will move on to the next level.



Carmella Gware