The ongoing boycott at the PNG's University of Technology in Lae has taken a new turn yesterday.
Students gathered in front of the administration building, and forced the closure of the administration office. By 1 pm, the staffs left the office, including the acting vice chancellor, Professor John Pumwa who was the last to leave the building escorted by the SRC president.
More than 500 protesting students gathered in front of the administration block and closed the administration office.
The student body was responding to the Higher Education Minister, Delilah Gore’s statement on Monday, stating that the government won’t negotiate with the students to settle the issue.
Unitech SRC has also questioned minister Gore’s competence in resolving the issue, after she failed to talk to the student when she visited Lae, last Thursday.
The SRC president, Eddy Nagual told the protesting students: “We are forcing the closure of the administration office because we have an issue, and the government is not listening to us”.
The students have welded the gates shut and prevented traffic, from entering the campus.
All this comes after a series of events.
Their issue was very basic; they want Albert Shram back as the Vice Chancellor for the University.
But Dr. Shram hasn’t been allowed back into the country because of visa restrictions.
Last Thursday, the Higher Education Minister travelled to Lae. She insisted to talk to student leaders outside of Unitech, but they refused.
The Higher Education Minister however held the meeting at the National Agricultural Research Institute several kilometers away from the UNITECH campus.
On Monday, the Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru, talked to the students, and told them that he will personally write to the Prime Minister on the Unitech issue.
“I will talk to the Prime Minister and the Higher Education Minister that they have no enemies at Unitech”, Governor Naru told the students.
The Unitech student protest is now dragging into its third week since the initial boycott started about two weeks ago, and it’s still not known what their next course of action would be.
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