Unwanted distractions at UG
November 1, 2006
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Universities have been credited with producing many situations that have rocked societies. In China, the university students staged a protest that eventually saw the liberation of the society from the closed door communist society that once existed.
Many students died when the Chinese Army descended on their protest at Tiananmen Square, but those who survived told their tale to the wider world with devastating consequences.
Here in Guyana our university students have challenged situations, and while their challenges have not been earth shattering, they have made officialdom sit up and take notice. On occasions, by their protest they have managed to shut down the university and forced certain improvements.
More recently, elements have invaded the campus, with serious consequences for the nation's future leaders. There are the rich students, who treat the campus as their playground. Some of them do things that have been unheard of on campus. Those with cars have driven on to the campus with blazing stereo systems, much to the annoyance of those who desire peace and quiet to pursue their life's dreams.
This would not have been allowed on any campus in any part of the world. In the first instance, campus security would have intervened and would have evicted the nuisance. In Guyana, the security guards are little more than watchmen, and they fear the backlash of a wealthy student accessing people who would, in reality, be his father's lackeys.
Some of the lecturers are a mere microcosm of the society, where people tend to mind their own business and are apathetic at best. These lecturers would simply frown at the nuisance while it occurs and then go about their business. This would not have been so bad, except that students often imitate their lecturers. These would be the people who would leave the university with the firm belief that apathy is often the best remedy for difficult situations.
Then we have those who simply attend university because their parents can afford, or because they have been able to secure funding by way of the government scholarship. These are young people who secured passes at the external examinations but who are incapable of landing a job, either because there are no suitable jobs around, or because they find the pay too insignificant. They, therefore, make the university campus their playground. They would spend their time gambling and pursuing other activities that could only serve to distract some of the students who would have, under other circumstances, been pursuing their programmes uninterruptedly.
But perhaps the most serious of all the distractions are the criminals who prowl the campus. These are the dregs of society, who have taken it upon themselves to prey on the hapless students. These are the people who have decided not to undertake any meaningful activity.
These criminals seem to have carte blanche on campus, and they would secrete themselves and wait for those who may be walking alone or in small groups. Many students have fallen prey to these people, and it is by the mercy of the Supreme Being that none of the victims has been seriously hurt.
One criminal attack is enough to have a serious effect on students. Their mental status is disrupted. Some have been known to drop out for fear of a more serious attack, while others have been so traumatised that they concentrate on the business at hand.
The campus authorities have sought the help of the national law enforcement officers, but given the paucity of policemen and women, at no time can the force afford personnel to patrol the campus.
Given the fees charged by the University of Guyana, this establishment should be in a position to hire its own security personnel, who would patrol the campus because, when all is said and done, the campus is responsible for the safety of every student.