UNILAG students protest ‘unjust’ rustication

Members of the suspended University of Lagos Student Union (ULSU) executive Wednesday protested what they described as an “unjust rustication” of the union members.

They gathered at the school’s Senate building to demand thorough investigation of the suspensions of the students’ leaders, ranging from two to four semesters, for their role in a protest that led to the closure of the university in April.

The students used the opportunity of the inaugural meeting of the university’s newly constituted Senate Wednesday to draw attention to their grievances.

They bore placards with the inscriptions: “We want better welfarism not victimization;” “Punishment without evidence”; “The student needs a body ULSU is our body”; and “Our leaders don’t deserve the treatment they are getting”.

The ULSU President, Mohammed Olaniyan, said the students have appealed their suspension.

“We have written an appeal letter to the Pro-Chancellor to look into the injustice the Senate has done.  Not only have we been unjustly rusticated, but they are also victimizing the leaders and all we did was protest against the unfair treatment of students.”

Olaniyan also questioned why only seven of the 16-member executive committee were punished when all participated in the protest.

“Where are the remaining nine members?  Where are their letters – which just shows how biased our Senate is,” he said.

The USLU speaker, Adeonipekun Adeyanju, said students exercised their right to protest.

“Every individual has the right to protest.  They said we locked the school gate. What about Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that locked school gate and no one was sacked or sanction?  This is victimization,” he said.

General Secretary, Emmanuel Afolabi, also faulted claim that they were punished for misconduct, not for participating in the protest.

He said, though the management told the media that we were rusticated because of misconduct which is a lie because it was writing in the letter given to us that we are been rusticated for protest. Yet they said we declared protest without congress approval whereas the congress then was not functioning because the vice chancellor did not inaugurate the congress.

Responding to the allegations of unjust suspension, the Deputy Registrar, Information and Protocol, Mr Toyin Adebule, in a statement, said each student that faced the panel set up by the senate to investigate the protest, were only punished for infractions they committed.

“The students were duly investigated for specific acts of social misconduct which they carried out. They were individually investigated for instances of wrongdoing in breach of the Social Misconduct and Penalties Regulations of the University of Lagos,” he said.

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