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UWI rejects criticisms, says students come first

Published:Friday | February 13, 2015 | 2:54 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer



The Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies is rejecting criticisms that it has been seeking to protect its reputation rather than address reports of gender-based violence among its student population.




According to deputy principal, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, students come first.



He made the declaration yesterday as students led a demonstration calling for the administration to address issues of violence in light of the attack Tuesday night on a female allegedly by a male colleague.



Some protestors accused the university of not aggressively dealing with issues of violence especially against females because it fears bad publicity and reputational damage.



Professor Kahwa is dismissing those claims, arguing that the university cannot admit to a phenomenon that is not supported by data collected by UWI.



But he says Tuesday's incident indicates that there are underlying issues which require further investigation.



Over the last two weeks the UWI has been forced to defend itself against a study from a United Nations specialist about a culture of gender-based violence on its Mona campus.



According to Taitu Heron, between 2010 and 2012, the offices of security services received 67 reports of incidents of violence against female students on campus, most of which took place on halls of residents.



In a statement yesterday, the UWI said it would be consulting internal, external experts on violence and conflict resolution to determine extent, nature of problem.



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