By Alagie Manneh
The Student Union of the University of the Gambia has criticised the university’s staff Associations move on a sit-down, describing it as both ‘unfair and unfortunate’ for the students and their parents.
The the association began a sit-down yesterday following allegations of corruption and embezzlement in the Senior Management Team of the UTG.
They are demanding the resignation of the vice chancellor and the dissolution of the university’s Senior Management Team, accusing them of “mismanaging resources and misplaced priorities”.
At a press conference yesterday at the Law Faculty, the student body called on both parties to come together and find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“It is unfortunate what is happening here at the UTG,” Mr Ansumana Bojang, President of the Students Union, told journalists.
“For us at the student union level, there is no way we can condone such actions because we have a big obligation which is to make sure students register on time, pay their tuition fees and come to class. So we see no reason why students should come to class and will not find people who are supposed to give them service in the class. We will not accept that from anybody,” Mr Bojang stressed.
According to him, at their Brikama campus, “lots of students came to attend lectures but couldn’t find any lecturers there because of the sit-down strike.”
He stressed that there was no formal communication to effect that protest.
“So for us students everything is normal. We advise our students to come to class on time as scheduled on their various timetables whiles we look into the matter.”
He also called on the President of the Staff Association Dr Ismail Ceesay to have a meeting with the council and sort out the issue.
“I think students have had enough during the political impasse.
“From our point, going on this strike is not fair to the students, and to their parents,” Mr Bojang observed.
For his part, Almamy Taal, lecturer and president of the Gambia writers association, insists that the staff associations move is based on no ground.
“What authority, based on what law or what consensus in the organisation are they making this demand? This demand is not reasonable, is based on nothing.”
According to him, the decision is “malicious, and intended to cause mischief.”
Ousman Nyang, acting vice chancellor said stressed that any staff who does not report to work without any legitimate reasons will be sanctioned accordingly.
For Musa Sawaneh, a recent graduate of the UTG, the SMT must be dissolved.
“They have been here for the past 18 years and a lot of impediments have happened.
“It is crystal clear, even visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. For the past 18 years, we have no website, things are very slow in terms of improvement. What about the SMTs salary increment. They never talked about that or the buying of flamboyant cars?”
The Staff Association of the UTG was not present at the press conference.