The question of Unity Hall and Katanga Hall becoming mixed sex halls is gradually edging to a close. The infamous decision by authorities of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to convert the male halls to mixed sex halls had for some time sparked cries of protest ever since the intention came to the known.
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Proponents against the university’s decision contend that ‘it is a piece meal approach to solving the accommodation deficit on campus’, with some score of people describing the decision as nothing to but a cover up for their dubious intentions; efforts to thwart students activism and promoting the ‘culture of silence’
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Authorities on the other hand have come out on several occasions to debunk such claims. They argue that, “the approach is to promote gender equality; to increase female enrollment into the STEM programme, to shield females from the incessant attacks and robbery reported off-campus, but Alumni and students of these all male halls seem to think differently.
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In recent briefings on this issue, Hypercitigh has highlighted on several activities that Alumni and University’s authorities have embarked on to either resist or pursue the mixed sex hall crusade. Alumni quest to annul the university’s decision saw them drag the issue to court. It can be recalled that on July 19, 2018 Alumni of Katanga filed a suit at Kumasi High court seeking to restrain the university from converting the all-male hall of residence to a mixed sex hall. The education minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh also added to the woes when he officially backed the attempted conversion, speaking at the 52nd Congregation ceremony.
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In defense was Mr. George Tetteh Wayo, the public relations officer for KNUST, speaking on eyewitness news, “we are not deterred he remarked! They are right to do that, and we will respond appropriately”. He further dismissed claims that the university was converting the halls out of selfish reasons, adding that this was not the first time conversion was taking place.
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This came as no surprise when the university’s admission website had assigned females to these halls as hall of residence for the 2018/2019 academic year.
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Latest backlash to the university’s decision was the move by three students of the University hall, ‘Katanga’ seeking an interlocutory injunction to restrain the authorities of KNUST from converting the traditional hall into a mixed gender hall. The suit, filed on August 13, 2018 had its defendant served the following day.
As if that was not enough to deter authorities, a press release issued by the university yesterday, August 15, 2018 has had many to wonder/ admit in the light of both sides of the coin, whether or not, the conversion of all unisex hall into mixed sex hall is a means to an end. The statements foretell authorities remain resolute in their decision, and had included the only female hall, Africa in their latest clamp on single sex halls.
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The statement reads that, “Effective 2018/2019 academic year, all the six (6) traditional halls of residence namely: Independence hall, University hall, Africa hall, Republic hall, Unity hall, and Queen Elizabeth II hall would be designated as mixed halls. The university’s policy of expanding access to female students remain unchanged”.
Despite the peaceful demonstration staged on Friday, August 10, 2018 in Accra by Alumni and concerned students of both halls, in the heat of events are authorities who look unperturbed and still soldering on. The demonstration saw the presentation of a petition to the office of council of state and the office of the minister of education, tertiary institutions, of which they acknowledged receipt.
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Meanwhile the Kumasi edition of Conti-Kat ‘demo’ is set to take place Friday, August 17, 2018 through the principle street and shall be climaxed by the presentation of a petition to the Asantehene at Manhyia and the University council.
The race to August 24, 2018 has just began, realities unfolding, as the university seem to have gained greater control of the situation, the dilemma also hangs on the necks of Alumni and concerned students to either embrace or live with a fazed reality.
Credit: Andrews Aibi Junior/Hypercitigh/KNUST