…as protest action reaches Railway Embankment
Just over 100 students, most dressed in black, slowly trekked out of the University of Guyana (UG)’s Turkeyen campus late yesterday afternoon armed with a black banner with slogans on either side “Respect our Education #UG Revolution” and “Yes we care, do you? #UG Revolution.”
Led by President of the University of Guyana Students Society, Joshua Griffith, the group headed to the Railway Embankment a short distance away where they draped the University of Guyana sign planted there with their banner.
After completing their mission the next move was the taking of “selfies” by the students with the draped sign in the background with a view of posting these to social media.
This move came as part of the students’ efforts to further raise a number of existing concerns that were particularly amplified in recent days following the commencement of strike action by staffers of the tertiary institution.
And they were not alone yesterday as they highlighted their concerns.
It all started with a mini rally at the George Walcott Lecture Theatre (GWLT) which was kick- started by a leadership talk presented by Youth Leadership Advocate, Astell Collins, who told his audience of mainly students that “any injustice at UG is a threat nationally.”
The UGSS-spearheaded event also gained support from the National Youth Council of Guyana. And according to its representative, Francis Bailey, it is evident that Government has the capacity to render a great deal of support to its main University. This is in light of the fact, he noted, that Government has been able to plug a sizeable sum into the construction of a Marriott Hotel that “none of us are likely to have lecture sessions in” and “a Skeldon (Sugar) Factory that can’t make sugar”.
As he emphasised the Youth Council’s support for the University students, Bailey went on to share his displeasure in the fact that “many youths in Guyana are growing old waiting for change. I think UG can be a lot different.”
Yesterday’s event marked the second campus-wide activity orchestrated by the UGSS. The initial activity, which was held on Monday, led to the Vice Chancellor and the University Council deciding to meet today in order to discuss the way forward in terms of bringing an end to the strike action by workers in their attempt to address a breakdown in salary negotiations and the imposition of a new Workload Policy.
While it is anticipated that there will be a resolution today following the planned meeting, the UGSS President noted that if this is not the case, efforts will be made to determine the next move.
But according to Griffith, “there are tons of issues affecting us such as grades, facilities, and the list goes on. We know that students are the ones that are most affected at this time and whatever decision we (students) take we will run with it…”
“All the other stakeholders of the University are paid, we are the only ones that are not paid; we pay and we want value for our money and we want classes to start as soon as possible. We want normalcy and more importantly we would like to see transparency and returns for our investment,” Griffith asserted.
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