A group calling itself Concerned Kantangees comprising alumni and students of the University of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has called on the management of the university to halt all activities aimed at assigning females to the Katanga Hall.
They want all incoming female students to be reassigned to different halls of residence.
This follows what the group describes as the lifting of a self-imposed “silence on the latest developments regarding the restoration of University Hall (Katanga) to its original status as an “all-male hall.”
In a statement issued by the group on Tuesday, 22 December 2020, the Kantangees said: “Our silence for more than a year was in respect of the protocols that the Chancellor of the University, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, had instituted on this matter. Over the past week, it has become obvious that the university management has no respect for these protocols.”
According to the Kantangees, they had learned to their “dismay that the university has begun to assign females, again, to Katanga for the upcoming academic year”.
“It is, therefore, important to note that this decision was made without recourse to any of the protocols established by Otumfuo Osei Tutu II or the common courtesy of engaging the relevant stakeholders.”
The group noted: “On September 5, 2019, the Minister of Education wrote to the Chairman of the University Council formally, asking for the rescission of the decision to restore Katanga to an ‘all-male hall’. In that official memorandum, the Minister reiterated the position of the government that Katanga remain a male hall of residence as prevailing in other sister universities in Ghana. The Minister also emphasised that this was necessary to preserve a peaceful and conducive environment for academic work”.
“We have it on authority that the University Council were in the process of acting upon this request from the government. We also note that subsequent to the minister of education’s statement, the Chancellor of the University, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, held meetings with the Katanga Global Alumni Leadership and assured us of restoring Katanga to an ‘all-male hall’ and further admonished that the leadership ensure a peaceful academic environment and collaborate with the management regarding the development of the university.”
The group, which indicated that since the new vice-chancellor of the university assumed office in August 2020, it “has been working with her on a proposed ultra-modern student hostel to help alleviate the accommodation problem that has plagued the university for years”, noted that: “Professor Dickson is Vice-Chancellor today, only because Katanga relentlessly stood up to the oppression of her predecessor Obiri Danso. We fully supported her bid because we believed that she was the right person to restore sanity and trust after a turbulent period of autocracy by the previous Vice-Chancellor.”
The group said it believes that “she is the right leader, but it now appears that there are elements within the university system seeking to undermine the Vice-Chancellor by using this Katanga conversion issue as a wedge.”
The Katangees also described “the recent decision to assign females to Katanga, without the basic courtesy of consultation”, as an “insult to the President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Chancellor, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and all Katanga alumni.”
The group, therefore, demanded that the executives of the Katanga Alumni Association “convene an emergency meeting of all members, as soon as possible, to explain the current situation and the way forward”, demanding: “The university should immediately render an unqualified apology to the President of Ghana, the Chancellor, the Minister of Education, and all Katanga alumni for the university’s failure to respect the protocols in place regarding the matter of conversion of Katanga”.
The group is also demanding “an immediate cessation of all actions by the university aimed at assigning females to Katanga” and insists steps are taken to immediately “to re-assign all incoming females who have been allocated Katanga as their hall of residence.”
The management of the university, in 2018, announced the conversion of the two male halls of KNUST to mixed halls.
Despite opposition from students of those halls and their alumni, the conversion took effect from the start of the new academic year.