By JUNIOR UKAHA
STUDENTS at the University of Technology (Unitech) turned rowdy and violent yesterday when they heard that some of their fellow students were injured in Port Moresby.
The National was at the scene when students hurled stones at police, members of the media and the public before setting a vehicle on fire inside the campus.
But vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram chram downplayed incidents and denied there was a confrontation or stand-off of any sort, but only “shouting” incidents.
When asked if there was a confrontation, Schram said: “That is not correct. There was some shouting but no confrontation.”
Schram denied that students were trying to move their protests into the streets.
“The students have never been planning this (boycotting on the streets) or even talked about it,” he said. “They (students) are fully aware that this will create risks for them and a great nuisance to the public.”
Schram said he had not received any reports of students throwing stones at police, the media, members of the public and motorists.
Schram said at some point there were about six police vehicles on the ground but were withdrawn because Lae Met Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr was there to address the students.
“I went out of the gate personally and came back with the Met Supt and two of his officers,” Schram said.
“They (police) have conducted a positive dialogue with the SRC (students’ council) and student leaders.”
Schram, however, said there was a “lamentable incident” on campus when a Water PNG vehicle went up in flames. He said this matter would be investigated separately.
“As the VC, I commend the police for their professional approach,” Schram said.
“Our students reacted spontaneously and angrily to the news of the possible deaths of one or more of their fellow students at UPNG.
“We have spoken with the SRC and the leaders of the associations and are confident they will calm down.”
According to Schram, no one was hurt in the incident and speculation about students taking to the streets was just rumour. “We (Unitech management) have not lost the plot.We have had a very orderly process so far based on dialogue with the students.”
Schram said the students were supposed to resume classes next week but yesterday’s incident was not helping.
By JUNIOR UKAHA