I have always wondered what it will be like if students on campuses across the globe decided to embark on massive demonstrations against high cost of tuition and reading materials. In light of the demonstrations that were held by students on different campuses across the states against the President-elect of the United States, I have started to give this topic more thought.
There are so many rules and regulations in the university that students do not necessarily find useful and therefore, dislike tremendously. An example on top of my head is a well-occurring debate among my friends and I about the necessity of parking permits for graduate students. Every one of my friends think it is ridiculous especially since we are obliged to pay comprehensive fees that should include such costs. Why can’t graduate students be allowed to park on campus free of charge? I recently received a ticket for parking by the drillfield after 6pm because I parked at a spot that was only for faculty and staff. I mean, rules and regulations are generally for the best to ensure effective administration, but after 5pm, why should some spots be still out of bounds for graduate students? A lot of my friends share this exact sentiments and others.
In Ghana where I had my first degree, it became the norm some time past, for female students to be subjected to sexual harassment by male lecturers. At one instant, a student got impregnated by a male lecturer and the family of the girl had to force the lecturer to marry her. What irked me the most about that instant is that the university decided to not get involved in that ‘mess’ and to allow the family of the student to take charge. Had the student been in the comfort of her home and under the constant protection of her parents, rather than attend the university, will she have been impregnated? Why couldn’t the university authorities take control, subject the lecturer to a disciplinary board and probably ask him to step down or suspend him at least, for being intimate with a student?
This brings me back to my initial interest in the role of students on campuses and whether or not students can cause drama in the university by embarking on demonstrations to protest against what they feel is a disservice to them. What will be the outcome of such massive demonstrations? Will the university become a better place? Or will the university be engrossed with such chaos that teaching and learning become ineffective?
I am patiently waiting on a time when students will say they have had enough of high tuition costs and therefore protest massively against their payments. Will it cause the university to adjust plans and accommodate the interests of students or will the plight of students, demonstrated in such manner, be ignored?