Story and picture by ZACHERY PER
MORE than 2,000 University of Goroka (UOG) students will quit en masse if their demand for the removal of the current administration and establishment of a full university council are not carried out.
The threat was issued to Office of Higher Education director-general Dr William Tagis yesterday at the UOG campus where he appeared on behalf of Higher Education Minister Michael Ogio to receive the students’ petition.
“We will walk out if the three current administrators do not step down and a full university council is not established.
“We are prepared to go home and return only next year to continue our studies,” student representatives council (SRC) president Benzamin Michael said.
The walk out was supported by the students and the National Academic Staff Association (NASA).
UOG NASA president Martin Waure and treasurer Yuak Tau revealed that a resolution was reached to petition vice-chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi and pro vice-chancellors Dr James Yoko (administration) and Associate Professor Michael Mel (academic) to step aside.
“Mass resignation of academic staff at UOG is looming if the three administrators refused to step down,” Mr Tau said.
Mr Michael refused to give the student’s petition to Dr Tagis and asked him to facilitate for Mr Ogio to come to UOG to receive the petition.
Mr Michael told Dr Tagis that students had painted their faces with mud to express that the current university administration had been killing them mentally.
“We want the minister to come and receive our petition and address the issues outlined in the petition, only then we can return to classes.
“If nothing good transpires, we are going home this year and return to study next year,” he said.
Dr Tagis told the students that the minister could not be available as he was mourning the death of his wife, adding that he was representing him to receive their petition.
“I cannot go back empty handed.
“I want to have a dialogue with the students first, then the staff and administrators of the university as you are key stakeholders of the university,” Dr Tagis said.
He said the call for the sidelining of the administrators and the establishment of a university council would be referred to relevant laws and UOG Act.