Discipline UTech students - Church
Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC) has broken its silence on last week's incident in which an alleged homosexual student was beaten at the University of Technology (UTech) in St Andrew.
"It is atrocious to have a university of young people who are supposed to be thinking rationally, and yet they are displaying savagery, brutality and violence. That doesn't augur well for the society. It is really a bad sign for the society," said Rev Donald Reece, who was speaking on behalf of the umbrella group yesterday.
Reece said if the students can be identified as having played a part in the beating, they should be punished.
The Catholic priest added that while the group would not ask the university to go as far as to expel the students found culpable, it had a responsibility to take reasonable disciplinary actions against them to show the society that such action should not be tolerated.
"I am not saying they should be dismissed but should be disciplined somehow. Have them do community service or whatever it is because, of course, (the security guards) have been disciplined, they have been fired from their job," Reece noted.
"Even though what they did was wrong, the students are more reprehensible because they should know better. Have them render some service to the society to let them realise that they are called to be responsible to the society and to humanity."
In the meantime, he said with the incident already making its way into the glare of the international media the local churches were concerned that the reputation of the country would further deteriorate in the eyes of the world.
"But we are not just concerned about our reputation, we are concerned about us being able to live like good human beings without brutalising anybody and not to demand that other people's behaviour conforms to ours," he said.
"Even though I might not agree with their behaviour, I have to respect their choice and not impose my choice on anyone," Reece said.
In the meantime, the JUGC said it does not support violence towards anyone, irrespective of their beliefs or behaviour.
The JUGC said it "strongly denounces the acts of violence meted out to the UTech student who was alleged to have been found in a compromising homosexual situation."
"The JUGC is further appalled at the behaviour of the crowd, especially those who are students of UTech who represent the future of our society," the church body said in a media release yesterday.
The JUGC has called upon all Christians to live out the virtues of the Christian faith, exemplified by Jesus Christ.
Last Thursday night a male student at the UTech was reportedly set upon by a mob on the university's compound after he was allegedly caught "in a compromising position" with another male student. He reportedly sought refuge in one of the guard rooms on the campus, where two security guards employed to Marksman Limited were caught on camera hitting him all over his body. The two security guards have since been taken into police custody and are to face an identification parade.