A recent publication under the caption ““Suspension of Meal Plan was a Disappointment to Me”- Davis Ohene Fobi” has generated considerable criticism from some observers at the second sitting of the General Assembly who have subsequently demanded a retraction of the story and an apology accordingly.
In the publication, the writer reported on a statement by the SRC President as saying that the suspension of the meal plan was a source of disappointment to him. According to the report, the President, Mr. Davies Ohene Fobi’s disappointment stemmed from the fact that, contracts were given out already for the refurbishment of the dinning halls coupled with the fact that “the news of its suspension came two weeks to the rolling out of the program”.
The report however captured the objection of the President to the meal plan program on the condition that it was a compulsory requirement into residential status for freshmen and women. The reportage did not sit in well with some followers of the political regime as many believe it was borne out of a desire to create rancour towards the incumbency.
A careful attention to the speech of the President reveals a situation of misinterpretation on the part of the reporter.
Indeed, the President shared in the joy of students who are against the implementation of the policy this academic year saying, “I must say that I am sorry to disappoint those who wanted this policy to take place this academic year”. However, he equally grieved with those who were cheerless over the suspension as “I believe in as much as majority of us might be against the policy and are very happy that the policy didn’t take effect, some of us too within our hearts are quite disappointed and as such we believe if the policy had come on, it would have assisted us”.
The point of misinterpretation comes in as the President spoke in first person plural for two sides i.e “some of us too within our hearts are quiet disappointed and as such we believe if the policy had come on, it would have assisted us”.
It becomes clear from the fore running that the earlier reportage of the President’s disappointment in the suspension of the meal plan holds truth nonetheless except that it failed to communicate fully the intents of the President due to the ambiguous manner in which it was presented and also the failure of the reporter to fully capture the essence of the President’s message.
No malice was therefore implied or expressed in the said report neither was it the intention of the writer to give offence nor court malevolence against the Fobi-led administration.
Indeed the challenges bedeviling students of the University of Ghana and Ghanaian students is enormous enough a fight that requires the concerted effort of every conscientious citizen. Any attempt to shift attention from this scared mandate must be looked upon with disdain.
Any inconvenience caused is duly regretted.
Below is an unedited transcription of the speech of the president on the meal plan as made available to the writer.
I must say that I am sorry to disappoint those who wanted this policy to take place this academic year. I believe in as much as majority of us might be against the policy and are very happy that the policy didn’t take effect, some of us too within our hearts are quiet disappointed and as such we believe if the policy had come on, it would have assisted us.
What I told management as at that time was that I needed at least 3 weeks into this semester to find out from students whether they like the policy or not and that will be the only basis I will communicate to management whether I am consenting to that policy or not.
Management told me if continuing students we say we don’t want the policy they are not going to put us on the meal plan and as such, they are going to make it compulsory for the prospective students who are now fresh students. And as such it was going to be in such a way that when you receive your admission letter it was going to be on the admission letter that if you accept to be a resident of the University of Ghana, it means you have already subscribed to the meal plan.
And I don’t know if you get what that means. What that means is that if you don’t accept the meal plan you can’t be a resident of the University of Ghana and I thought that was not good and was quiet an injustice to students who couldn’t afford money just to pay and as such they will be denied accommodation on campus there is no way I can accept it.
But if they are to do away with that, we can sit down with them and discuss other modalities as directed by the General Assembly and the Executive Committee and the students of the University of Ghana and until they are able to work that thing out, I am not ready to sit on any negotiation table to tell them to continue with the meal plan.
As such we had to meet JCR presidents; we met with the Vice Chancellor and later they later asked us to come with letters stating our clear stance and I think we communicated to the university management on the arguments that I have just raised to you. So on that note the meal plan once again was suspended.