The University of Ghana’s University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG) branch has condemned the invasion of the University campus by National Security Operatives during the Students’ Representative Council’s general elections.
It has also called on the Minister for National Security to explain the incident and apologise for blatant infringement of their rights.
This was contained in a press statement dated October 25, by the UG-UTAG.
You’d recall that on October 21, National Security operatives invaded the campus of the University of Ghana, interfering with the SRC election process ongoing.
Some students had expressed concerns about the presence of the personnel as some described the situation as intimidating and a plot to influence the outcome of the elections in favour of some candidates.
But the Director of Public Affairs of the University of Ghana, Elizier Taiba Ameyaw-Buronyah, explained that the presence of the security officials was to ensure a peaceful election.
Her comments and the actions of the Security operatives have faced serious backlash from academics and students who have described the invasion as an affront to academic freedom and democracy.
Joining critics, the UG-UTAG explains that “By the Basic Laws of the University, universities are entitled to enjoy some institutional autonomy, and their campuses are expected to be out of reach of security personnel, except were invited by the management of the universities themselves.”
“To ensure law and order, public universities have their own security personnel and can call on the regular security agencies for reinforcement when the need arises,” it said.
It further stated that the provisions of the Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility and Clause 19 of the UNESCO Recommendations on the Status of Higher Education Personnel (1997), which protect the autonomy of Tertiary Institutions, were all breached by the National Security Operatives.
UG-UTAG added that “The National Security intrusion violates the rights of not only the students but academics and staff who together constitute the academic community. Students have the right to conduct their elections and select those who must lead them, and the universities have their own internal security arrangements that competently oversee such processes.”
It has, therefore, condemned the National Security intrusion on the University’s campus, describing it as an attack on academic freedom.
“We unequivocally assert our right to academic freedom as provided under the 1992 Constitution and invite the Minister for National Security to provide an explanation and apology for this infringement. We further give notice that we will not condone any such intrusion in the future,” it concluded.