Katanga, Conti protesters petition Otumfuo over mixed-gender halls
The Alumni and students of University (Katanga) and Unity (Conti) Halls, of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), on Friday went on a protest over the decision of the university authorities to convert the two all-male halls into mix-gender halls.
The walk through some streets of Kumasi and presented their petition to the Chancellor of the university, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace.
The students who started their protest march from the Amakom Traffic light, through Labour, Prempeh Assembly Hall, Central Market before ending at Abbey’s park at Ashtown, carried placards some of which read: ‘No Females at Unity’, ‘Visionless Obiri, ‘Bawumia remember your promise to Katanga’, ‘We Support STEM but not administrative terrorism’ among others.
Some also carried mini caskets believed to contain the remains of the current of Vice-chancellor.
The alumni and students of these halls are kicking against the management decision to convert these halls into mixed halls as part of plans to solve accommodation problems facing students and also to help increase female enrolment.
The students, supported by their alumni believe that the decision was a short-sighted one and was bound to fail.
The students and alumni who later presented an-eight page petition to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who is also the chancellor of the university, averred that “such an act would have dire consequences for students, alumni and associates of the halls and for tertiary education at large and should not be allowed to occur without further analysis and reconsideration.”
Presenting the petition, the Ashanti regional Spokesman for the Alumni of University Hall, Mr Kankam Kwarteng, said they believe that the only solution to the accommodation and security problems on campus was to expand residential and academic facilities.
“In fact we recall the wise counsel of Nana Osei Tutu II during the 52nd graduation ceremony in July 2018 to the authorities to alleviate the accommodation challenges facing KNUST students by building more hostels.”
The students are requesting the chancellor to order the university authorities to stay the proposal to convert all single sex halls into mixed gender halls until there is a clear demonstration on how the conversion of these halls into mixed gender halls will address the acute accommodation shortage on campus.
“A clear strategy to increase residential and academic facilities on campus working closely with alumni, stakeholders and potential investors and donors,” he said.
According to him, the students and alumni of Katanga guided by the motto of the hall, ‘Rest Not’ “we shall remain resolute, say no to this academic and gender injustice whilst your high office responds to our concerns.”
The Ankobeahene, Baffour Kwame Kusi who received the petition on behalf of the Asantehene, commended the demonstrators for the peaceful nature they conducted themselves and promised to deliver the petition to the Asantehene and appealed to them to remain calm while the chancellor considers their petition.
The authorities of the university earlier this year announced the conversion of all single sex halls into mixed halls as means of solving the accommodation problem affecting students and also affecting enrolment of female students.
The decision has since been met with strong objections, particularly from the two main all-male halls University Hall, also known as Katanga and Unity Hall, known commonly as ‘Conti.’