University denies blame for killing

National, Normal

The National – Monday, June 27, 2011

THE University of Technology has refuted claims that the institution should be held responsible for the killing of a student off the Taraka campus a fortnight ago.
The university said appropriate security measures had been put in place to ensure the safety and security of staff and students.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Misty Baloiloi said a media report attributed to Jiwaka Transitional Authority chairman Philip Kapal said the murder of final year electrical engineering student Kapal Imbal Jr was related to ethnic fighting on campus.
Baloiloi said it “is erroneous and unwarranted for Kapal to claim that the governing body and administration of the university was slack in dealing with ethnic clashes among students on campus”.
He said the late Imbal was murdered off the campus and police were investigating the matter.
 “Until police complete their investigations and establish the facts behind the unfortunate killing of our student, and until the perpetrators are found and arrested, it is wrong to make assumptions and lay blame on any individual, group or organisation,” Baloiloi said.
“The university cannot be held responsible for a death that occurred off campus nor should any student ethnic groups, as implied in the media report.”
He said ethnic violence had happened and “continues to happen in many of the country’s educational institutions, starting from primary to secondary and tertiary levels”.
“As such, it is not a problem for Unitech only to deal with, but by everyone including the national government, provincial governments, police and other stakeholders, including students themselves and their parents.”
He said the abuse of alcohol and drugs had been identified as the main factors in the cause of deaths of students over the past decade.
He said authorities needed to stamp out illegal liquor sales.
“These outlets are easily accessible to students, many of whom opt to indulge in drinking and night-clubbing despite advice and warnings,’’ he said.
“Unitech has security arrangements with the Lae City police to assist in maintaining law and order on campus in times of major problems, and a contract with a private security contractor to provide security services for staff and students.
“The university has its own security force for same purpose.”