Tue | Apr 23, 2019

UWI: PNPYO president's comments misguided, political groups free to associate

Published:Friday | June 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Krystal Tomlinson

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has rejected an assertion by Krystal Tomlinson, president of the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO), who claims that the institution helps to stigmatise youth participation in governance by not allowing political groups to gather and engage students on campus.

"The UWI notes and respectfully disagrees with the misguided comments and concerns of Miss Krystal Tomlinson, president of the PNPYO, that The UWI Mona bans the formation or association of political clubs and societies on the Mona Campus," the university said.

This response came almost two weeks after The Gleaner asked The UWI to explain its position on the matter, following Tomlinson's comments during a Gleaner Youth Forum.

The UWI argued that historically, the campus has provided an important space for civil society and political discussions and that students who hold similar political views are free to associate.

Tomlinson had contended that "there's a major challenge, particularly on a campus like The University of the West Indies, where political dialogue, conversation and formal societies are frowned on" and that this "helps to further bastardise the process for youth who should be wanting to actively participate in politics".

But the university noted, "Presently, there are political groupings represented on the campus including People's National

Party and Jamaica Labour Party youth organisations. However, The UWI Mona does not provide funding for any of these political entities."

The university also pointed out that the Guild of Students provided an open framework for political socialising and networking for students who were so inclined.