The University of Ghana management has expressed severe disagreement with some of the Members of Parliament over remarks they made regarding its new residential facility.
There are “some inaccuracies in the claims made on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, March 29, 2023,” according to the university in a statement.
It follows the directive by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu to the Education Committee of the house to probe the supposed breach of an injunction order on the new residential policy of the University of Ghana.
It came after a statement made on the floor of Parliament by the Deputy Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Dr. Clement Apaak condemning the new residential policy of the university and demanding the reinstatement of the affected students.
In his ruling, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu says the committee should engage the management of the university to ascertain their reasons for defying the order.
But the University stated that the above issues need to be clarified. It set the records straight in the release as follows:
1. Management of the University of Ghana has noted, with great concern, comments by some Members of Parliament about the new UG residential policy which sought to create the impression that the University is flouting a court order and, therefore, disrespecting the Judiciary, the Constitution and the mandate of good people of Ghana. The University notes some inaccuracies in the statements made on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. Below, we provide these facts to set the records straight.
2. Following the order of injunction issued by the High Court asking the University to halt implementation of the new policy, the University stopped further assignments to Commonwealth Hall. By that time new students assigned were already in residence. Contrary to the allegations and impression created on the Floor of Parliament, the University has not violated any court order.
3. The University has also exercised its legal rights by appealing against the court order as well as requesting for a Stay of Execution of the order of injunction.
4. The University is governed by a Council, made up persons of high repute, who are committed to ensuring the welfare of students and a conducive environment for teaching and learning. It must be stressed that the implementation of the new residential policy had been done before the court issued the order of injunction.
5. The reporting date for fresh men and women for the start of the 2022/2023 academic year was January 4, 2023, which preceded receipt of the order of injunction. Prior to this, freshers had already selected rooms from the available slots through an online platform. Accordingly, all fresh men assigned to Commonwealth Hall moved in upon reporting on January 4, 2023.
6. It must be stressed that allocation of rooms to freshers assigned to Commonwealth Hall ceased immediately notice of the injunction was received and has not been resumed.
7. The University gave all continuing students previously legally resident in Commonwealth Hall the opportunity to take up rooms in the UGEL halls. As at 30th March, 2023, 91% of these continuing students had accepted the offer, paid, and are currently in occupancy in the UGEL halls. Students who genuinely had difficulty in paying and explained their situation to Management were duly provided support through the University’s Student Financial Aid Office.
8.The University would like to put on record that traditional halls are not assigned to students in perpetuity.
The new residential policy, where freshers in their first year will be accommodated in the traditional halls, is being rolled out progressively, starting from Commonwealth Hall and Mensah Sarbah Hall. The policy is to enable freshers settle in easily into university life in the first year.
9. We wish to emphasise that the new residential policy is not a punishment and no student who accepted the accommodation offer at the UGEL halls was denied residence, as members of the public are being made to believe.
10. Academic work at the University is progressing steadily, and students are preparing for end-of-semester examinations.
11. We reiterate that the University of Ghana is a law-abiding institution. Further, we encourage all aggrieved persons including alumni of the affected halls to engage with the University to understand the purpose and need for the new policy. The University of Ghana is deeply concerned about the welfare and security of our students, staff and all other stakeholders and will do everything in its power to protect them.