KNUST authorities have reversed four policies after students protest against ‘a culture of oppression and disrespect’ turned violent Monday.
The reversals were contained in a statement issued by the Student Representative Council and signed by Kelvin Sah who is SRC President.
It followed negotiations between the university authorities and the Student Representative Council as the school enters day three of its closure.
As part of several concessions made by university management, there is an agreement to reinstate constitutionally elected Executives of Unity and University Halls of Residence who were summarily removed from office by the university authorities.
The student leaders who are third-year students were deemed unfavoured by the university authorities who subsequently installed first-year students as replacements.
But the affected KNUST student leaders can return to their leadership roles and in a further concession, their residential status has been restored after they were thrown out of the main campus.
There is also a return to the practice of allowing each hall to schedule its own hall week celebrations cancelled by the authorities in favour of a consolidated celebration by all the halls of residence.
The university management has agreed to allow student associations to operate their own accounts after all student bodies had their accounts consolidated.
In a triumph of student activism, the KNUST students have also secured a complete lifting of the ban on jamborees better known as ‘morale’, a cacophonous singing, chanting and drumming which authorities tried a crackdown.
That crackdown resulted in student brutalities and clashes with the school’s internal security. The most recent brutalities occurred last Saturday leaving 11 injured.
Within 48 hours of the incident, the KNUST SRC embarked on a peaceful protest which quickly turned violent leading to damage to dozens of vehicles and school properties.
Forced to close down, the university authorities have been put on the back foot as several students have vented their frustration in the media.
They complained of being caned by lecturers while others were made to kneel in the rain for disregarding a ban on jamborees.
More than 48 hours after the demonstration, the government acknowledged a breakdown of trust between the students and school authorities and announced it had dissolved the university council replacing it with an interim body.
The fate of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Obiri Danso remains shaky as the interim body could seal his fate in the coming days.
In a statement by the SRC, the student leaders indicated they have no position on the fate of the Vice-Chancellor who is widely known by the students as ‘Kumasi Adolf Hitler’.
The statement stressed their focus on resolving issues that generated the toxic atmosphere at Ghana’s second largest public university.
They noted the school’s internal security apparatus has become a source of human rights abuse and have gained assurances from the university management to reorient their personnel to ‘know their limits’.
The statement also said as part of reconciliation and healing, the university authorities have resolved to move away from a punitive approach to resolving the conflict with the students.