The Office of the Vice Chancellor
Professor (Mrs.) Smile Dzisi
Koforidua Technical University
THE STATE OF INSECURITY ON CAMPUS.
Greetings. I would kindly crave your indulgence to pay attention to my concerns.
Madam, in higher education like other institutions, safety and security of persons particularly students’ resident on university campuses remain topical. Studies conducted by Chekwa, Thomas and Jones (2013); Fernandez (2001); and Ratti (2010) have found out that crime and violence are prevalent in schools and higher learning communities (Burton & Leoschut, 2013). Research studies have argued that violence on University campuses had always existed.
Clearly, the issue of safety on university campuses cannot be ignored and it is high time the university management took steps to ensure that students felt safe on campus to go about their learning without any fear.
I must commend management for the introduction of the Students Identification Card Inspection at night. This initiative requires all student of the institution to come along with their students’ identification card when coming to campus after 6:00 pm. This we are told will ensure security and safety of student at night. Students are required to carry students’ identification cards and to produce these cards at the request of the security guards on campus.
This initiative is not enough to deal with the recent security issues on campus and across the various registered hostels. I share in the fears expressed by students, especially, students of the Private Registered Hostels and indeed all of us, who still feel insecure holding our own laptops and phones on campus, in addition to the fear of being assaulted on our way to our respective hostels of residence. For years, security at various hostels have been nothing to write home about. Whereas most hostels are without well trained security personnel and the few that have are not well equipped and resourced to deal with security issues in the hostels.
Before I proceed, let me ask these mind-boggling question;
- Under what conditions are hostel operators given the permit to operate?
- What security requirements must a hostel operator meet before given the approval to operate?
- Do the university authorities thoroughly visit and access these hostels before granting them approval permits to operate?
- What is the stand of the Students Representative Council (SRC) with regards to security requirements for registered hostel operators?
- Why are some registered hostels still failing to provide security for residence of their facilities?Proper security at hostels is not a privilege but a right of every student. It’s sad that after paying huge sums of money for a room in a hostel one can’t be safe. Most of the operators of the private hostels have no concern for the safety and security of their residents. Some students have had their items stolen from their rooms by robbers when on vacation.
The recent acid attack on one of the female students at Eli Joe Hostel by an unknown assailant is evidently clear that the safety and security of our students are threaten. According to reports, the attacker poured the substance suspected to be acid on the victim through the window. Leaving her sustain injuries on the back, left arm and both thighs. This incident has left most students in state of fear and panic. The safety and security of our students is everyone’s responsibility.
Another similar incident also happened last semester during the examination period when one female resident of Contentment Hostel was attacked by some armed robbers on her way from campus to the hostel after long hours of studies during the night. The incident according to the victim occurred a few meters away from campus. Many students suffered same fate during the examination period. It seems one cares about our safety anymore.
The recent attack on Getfund Hostel by some students from the Universal Hostel who ended up vandalizing properties at the hostel is a sign of insecurity and a state of lawlessness on campus and at our various hostels. To my surprise, the security men at post during the attack could not stop the attackers due to the lack of logistics to control the situation. It took the timely intervention of the regional police reinforcement/patrol team to calm the situation. This clearly shows that the state of security within our hostels is a matter to be taken serious.
THE WAY FORWARD
- In order to ensure full security and safety on campus, Management and the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) must team up with regional police commend to patrol during examination weeks to eliminate all kinds of attack on students during such odd period of the semester.
- The University Hostel Board should charge all hostel operators in the vicinity to make sure they provide well trained security guards and electronic security installations in the hostels. Proper screening should be conducted on people especially, visitors and strangers who go in and out of our hostels, as a measure to ensure safety of students.
- Management must equip the campus security guards with all the appropriate and necessary logistics for their work. There should also be a campus emergency number or short code. This will encourage the prompt reporting of all emergencies, violence and criminal incidents around campus for a rapid response. Proper monitoring must be done on the security personnel to ensure that those at post do their work effectively.
- University Management and Registered Hostel operators must do their possible best to improve the lighting situation on various route that leads their hostel, especially at areas where students consider unsafe at night.
- Students must also become security conscious at every point in time. It’s important that every student remains alert. Students must be encouraged to avoid walking alone in the night.Students’ security is undeniably very significant for students’ welfare and well-being. The need for all concerned stakeholders to play their roles in ensuring safety and security of students should never be taken for granted. Students are expected to perform their expected roles to ensure their own security in and outside their hostels; hostel managers should see security as fundamental in their hostels; thus, all the necessary security measures should be put in place in their hostels. There is also the need for the university to enforce security measures in students’ hostels. Fear has gripped students of KTU following the robbery incident on campus.
Today, we are students in the university, tomorrow we will be the people making decisions for this country, hence the need to create a sound and secure environment for our academic development. Our security should be a priority for management all stakeholders.