Sunday, October 28, 2012

National Sports Festival: University of Lagos Ph. D. Students Reject Eviction from their Hostels

Some Ph.D. students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have rejected plans by the institution to evict them from campus during the National Sports Festival (NSF).
The institution has an arrangement with the organisers of the NSF to use the halls of residence to accommodate some of the athletes participating in the festival.
The festival tagged `Eko 2012’, would hold in Lagos from November 27 to December 9.
A letter by the affected students, sent to the acting vice-chancellor of the institution, expressed displeasure at the decision, saying it was, ``a clinical attempt to distract the Ph. D. students residing in the halls from attending to their research works”.
"The eviction will reduce the stability of Ph. D. students in various ramifications, especially in that many of them come from different parts of the country, far away from Lagos”.
The post-graduate students noted that vacating the halls in the middle of their research works would dislodge the psychological balance and focus needed for successful academic pursuits.
The eviction notice in question was entitled: ``Closure/Vacation of Halls of Residence’’ and dated Oct. 17. It was signed by the Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. O. O. Amund.
It said the request for an extended stay in the Erastus Akingbola and Henry Carr Halls by postgraduate students was discussed at a meeting with the hall executives in September.
``After a careful deliberation of the matter/request, it was decided that all students should vacate the halls of residence on or before Nov. 20, 2012 in preparation of the National Sports Festival as approved by the University Senate,” the notice said.
The Dean of School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. L.O. Chukwu said he was not in a position to speak on the matter.
``It is the job of the dean of students’ affairs to comment on the matter,’’ he said.
However, Amund, said that the affected students were not bigger than the university and should not try to be confrontational by challenging a decision already taken by the institution.
``I have done Ph. D. before; so, there’s nothing new in it and they shouldn’t feel very big because they are doing it. People have done it before.
``They were given a notice of two weeks and that should be enough for them to prepare and leave the university premises. Thank you!’’ he said.
Dr Kweku Tandoh, the Secretary-General of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the festival said: `` Unilag is one of the Games’ villages of the festival.
``We requested to use the school and their Senate gave us approval to use it. They told us that they have amended their calendar to accommodate the festival.
``If we had been told that their facilities were not available, we could have made other arrangements”.
He added that it was the Lagos State Government that provided the venues for the festival, and that Unilag was one of these.

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