Leaders penalised due to riot

National

UNIVERSITY of PNG acting Chancellor Dr Nicholas Mann says student leaders were penalised because of the riot and intimidation of fellow students and staff.
Mann refuted comments by Opposition Leader Don Polye that the university administration was harsh to the student leaders, saying that school of thought was not right.
“Leaders, parents and the public were being misled that the student leaders were charged for standing up against issues of the government,” Mann said.
“The university encourages freedom of speech and expression. It’s the riot and intimidation caused to other students and staff that was criminal in nature.
“The harassment, intimidation and burning down of cars and destruction of properties is corruption.
“The students had turned the protest into a riot and law and order issue and they were penalised for that.”
The University administration wrote to the student leaders on Aug 30 advising them of their termination and that they were permanently barred from entering campus.
The students had led the eight-week protest in May and June, demanding that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill step down from office and allow police to investigate corruption allegations against him.
Mann said they had been given seven days to appeal to the university administration with written evidence proving their innocence.
He said that the administration would also have to provide evidence that the student leaders were involved.
Meanwhile, Mann said 90 per cent of the students, about 5,000, had arrived and resumed classes this week.

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