Thu | Mar 30, 2023

LETTER OF THE DAY - Protesting UWI students show what's wrong with Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | May 2, 2012 | 12:00 AM


If there was any doubt about the abysmal level of indiscipline in our society, one only has to look at the demonstration of some students on Monday at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

It was reported that some students who had outstanding fees disrupted exams because they were prevented by the university's administration from sitting.

First, I sympathise with students who have the ambition and drive to further their studies, but it should not be at the expense of lawlessness.

Over the years, when these students demonstrate about fees, it always seem that they think that because they are university students, things must come to them on a silver platter.

So if fees are due, who do these students expect to pay it for them? The university administration made a terrible blunder to allow students to attend classes all semester right up to exams with outstanding fees. It's a case of giving them an inch and them taking a mile.

How could students come on national television and say that it is an injustice to bar students from exams because their fees are not paid? So isn't it an injustice for those who complied and paid their fees to be prevented from sitting their exams?

Chances are that many of these protesters are the same students who likely will be a nightmare for the Students' Loan Bureau when they graduate.

Nationwide indiscipline

It is a reflection of the wider society: tenants don't pay rent and yet they don't expect to be evicted by their landlords; mortgage is unpaid yet delinquent borrowers don't expect that the bank will put up their houses for sale; students don't pay tuition yet they must sit exams, and if they cannot sit exams, those who pay should not do so either.

This is a dangerous state of affairs and the university should suspend for at least one semester all those who barged into the exam centre and disrupted the proceedings. Lawlessness must not be tolerated. Delinquency breeds more delinquency, and disincentivises the paying of fees by previously compliant students.

Likewise, if your hall fees are unpaid, you ought to be evicted. One scenario could be that if hall fees go unpaid, incoming students could very well be faced with increased fees to cover the outstanding fees left the previous semester.