UPNG takes the easy way out & punishes boycotting students
UPNG’s Vice Chancellor, Albert Mellam, has proven himself to be incompetent at conflict resolution.
From the initial stages of the boycott, Professor Mellam, could have easily diffused the situation by facilitating freedom of expression.
Instead, Mellam prematurely, chose a hard line stand leaving no room for escalation should tensions rise. He brought guns to a peaceful call gathering. He issued threats when students made a peaceful call.
He tried to smother democratic freedom of expression by disallowing and delaying a referendum. He did all this in a democratic country. When students protested, he quickly requested for armed police presence on campus effectively burning all his bridges and cutting of any chance of dialogue with students. He created distrust when he should have built relationships.
Mellam demonstrated his apparent lack of skill in negotiating and his inability to contain a potentially explosive situation. He showed that he was not at all interested in forging relationships that would ultimately ensure the survival of UPNG and ensure mutual compromise for the benefit of all parties.
He stood back and let it escalate.
Then when students were shot, he, the custodian of the institution, took no responsibility. He continued along the path of destruction not learning from his mistakes.
He maintained his “guns on campus” policy and tried to force students into class. Then things erupted. Buildings and vehicles were destroyed. Still he took no responsibility.
Yesterday, he chose the easy way out to suspend the academic year. He has proven unfit to run UPNG. Students were shot under your watch. Police intimidated students under your watch.
Yet you failed to condemned the actions. You have seen fit to punish students who spoke out through democratic means. You chose to punish them for your mistakes that triggered the escalation.
If anyone is to be sacked, it is you! NOT Albert Schram!