Statement of Case
The first message I saw was one from the Intelligence Committee of the SRC, our own (Myself and Karim) Barrister Danny, had picked up intelligence as was expected of his role as chair of the committee and was ready to crack the whip if need be (can he?). Another from the Disciplinary Committee chair followed suit. Both write ups were as confusing as the use of the word ‘continue’ or ‘continuing’ for some students, Both had threatened to deal with such students without stating the legal basis the SRC was roaring from.
A quote from the release by the Disciplinary Committee Chair is worth espousing
“Students who have the intention of mounting banners should desist from such actions since it comes with its own sanction” Why must they desist? This question troubled me after reading the piece.
Another line from the early part of the write up is more troubling
“…wishes to notify any student or prospective candidate for any portfolio to remove all banners and/or posters from the various sections on campus mainly the bus stop as it goes against the constitution of the SRC”
This aspect of the release is no different from the previous one, aside failing to tell the prospective aspirants why they must remove the banners or posters, it claims their action goes against the
SRC constitution. I hope this legal interpretation is one from the SRC legal advisor (Yet to be appointed), or its probably from Justice Nadia Antwi who took over from Justice George Anti recently.
They can condemn
For starters, I strongly believe the SRC must condemn the actions of students that paste such notices at unauthorized places.Whether the SRC has the legal basis to punish such offenders is a debate I am itching to engage in with the legal brain that succeeded in convincing the two committees mentioned above to come out with such a release without providing key details, but a mere contact for clarification. How about those who paste notices welcoming students at authorized places, must they take that off or welcoming students is an offense?
The release claims the SRC is prepared to assist individuals like myself gain “in-depth knowledge of the SRC constitution”.
So I contacted the Chair of the Disciplinary Committee ,Raymond Agyei Opoku. My interaction with him revealed the following
He wasn’t aware of the constitutional basis of the threat
Statement had been issued by the Public Relations Directorate of the SRC
The SRC had been notified by the Dean of Student affairs concerning the posters and banners on campus
Threat applied to both notices at authorized and unauthorized places.
The Disciplinary Committee
Raymond might have swung into action, to specifically have his name below the statement released,with the name of his committee as the motivation-“Disciplinary Committee! .
The Disciplinary Committee is a committee set up under Article 72 of the SRC constitution (Page 88). The committee primarily has the power to deal with all acts of indiscipline perpetuated by a General Assembly member while dealing with any student only when the said student has been referred to the Committee by the General Assembly, any member of the Executive Committee or any JCR. (clause 2 of Article 72). Clause three makes an interesting read, “…the General Assembly shall,acting on the advice of the Disciplinary Committee have power to recommend appropriate punishments to the Dean of Students, the Registrar or the Vice chancellor for implementation(emphasis),except where the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee is on appeal to the Judicial Board” (clause 3).
The Intelligence Committee that Threatened too
A look at Barrister Danny’s Committee per the SRC constitution leaves one to wonder whether the committee has been properly established (vis a’ vis the statement released). For if the Committee had been well established, the SRC Legal Advisor is supposed to be a member of the committee and could thus have advised them as to where to bark, where not to bark;with the teeth the committee possesses as guide. We might as well pardon them, the committee might have been established in a haste to get an acting committee Head to take part in the election of SRC General Assembly Speaker.
Are they campaigning?
Others have tried to hold brief for the SRC by stating that the threat was against the prospective aspirants campaigning. I don’t seek to descend into a semantic debate as to what campaign means. The reality on the ground is that the trend hasn’t been any different over the years. In the very first semester of last academic year, posters or ‘teasers’ of Davies Ohene Fobi and Mikdad Mohammed were splashed across campus.
If this is the actual position of the SRC, I don’t intend for a moment to claim that it’s legal for people to put out such materials because it’s an age long practice. The question is, “if such notices, banners, teasers are put at authorized places, which provision in the SRC constitution did the release by the committees reach an understanding, helping them to describe such acts as unconstitutional.
While I wait for clarity from the appropriate quarters, I know Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo has been touring some parts of the country, for what? Is our situation different? Till I receive a response to help me understand the situation at hand, am still asking, Can UG-SRC “bite” prospective aspirants?