The management of the Benue State University (BSU) has explained why it suspended the 200 to 600 level students of its College of Health Sciences.
Recall that the school has reportedly suspended all the 200 to 600 level medical students for staging a protest in front of the State Government House.
The school had urged all the affected students to proceed on one month suspension with effect from 8:00 a.m. on Monday, 30th October 2023 and to resume on Wednesday, 29th November 2023.
The suspension had generated mixed reactions and wide condemnations from the public.
The school in a statement signed by Principal Assistant Registrar Information and Public Relations, Tser Vanger, stated that on the 20th October, the University Management got wind of moves by students of the University’s College of Health Sciences to disrupt their academic activities over sundry grievances.
The statement added that upon learning about the concerns of the students, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tor Iorapuu delegated the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Mike Odey, and other management staff and invited the students for a dialogue.
He added that the dialogue held and the only grievance of the students, which was the relocation of 200L medical students to Block C, was appropriately handled.
The statement further explained that a report from the fallouts of the dialogue was to be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor on October 25, the same day the students decided to embark on the demonstration after all assurances they had been given during the last meeting of October 24.
The statement lamented that notwithstanding the intervention of the Vice-Chancellor, while a formal submission of report to him was still being awaited, the students, on 25th October, regrouped and commenced a protest at dawn.
It added that they converged at the College of Health Sciences main entrance gate and defied all entreaties, including that of the Vice-Chancellor, to return to their lecture halls and give Management two hours to deliberate on their complaints.
“The students remained defiant, and marched to government house where they were addressed by the Commissioner for Health, Commissioner of Information, and the Chief of Staff to the Governor, who asked them to list their problems and choose some representatives to be led in to speak with the Governor but they refused, insisting that all of them must go in,” it said.
It added that the Governor’s aides and the others left the students at the Government House Roundabout where the Vice-Chancellor who had also met them, advised them to return to the campus.
The statement added that the Vice Chancellor, not discouraged by the attitude of the students, directed another delegation of management including the DVC, Academic to meet with the students where all issues raised were discussed and resolutions drafted, adopted and endorsed by the Students Union President who is a Medical student and that of the Benue State University Medical Students Association, BESUMSA, but expressed worry that the students reneged on the resolutions they earlier endorsed and resolved to boycott lectures.
The statement noted that the Vice-Chancellor had convened another meeting involving all Academic Staff of the College of Health Sciences and Management of the University during which all Academic Staff of the College expressed displeasure over conduct of the students, adding that in spite of the condemnation, the students continued holding meetings planning to stage a bigger protest and possibly cause destruction.
The statement said that security reports indicated that the students had made contact with external associates to prosecute the next phase of the protest, pointing out that it was consequent upon this that the Management Committee of the University was left with no option but to suspend 200-600 level students of the College of Health Sciences for one month.
But students who pleaded anonymity, in an interview with THE WHISTLER stated that none of the issues that they raised were addressed by the school management.
Why We Suspended Medical Students, Benue Varsity Explains is first published on The Whistler Newspaper