UPNG protest student leaders banned from studies

Students gather at UPNG Waigani Campus to discuss the issue of student leaders being terminated from university studies.

By Peter Kinjap in Port Moresby

The University of Papua New Guinea (UNPG) Administration has permanently excluded all the Student Representative Council (SRC) members and student leaders who led the recent strike against PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in June.

The accused students received letters from the UPNG acting pro-vice-chancellor, professor Mange Matui, which stated they have been de-registered from studies and are no longer UPNG students from 2016 and beyond.

A student leader said they had been given two-weeks to appeal the decision.

Extracts from the letter read: The University of Papua New Guinea administration has credible evidence that, in your capacity as the SRC member of 2016, you have been involved in the 2016 May to July student unrest and boycott.

“Based on the reports I have received, and after careful considerations of relevant evidences and circumstances, you have breached all laws of Papua New Guinea, including the Criminal Code Act and the Summary Offences Act.

“By virtue of the disciplinary powers bestowed on me by section 7 of the Student Discipline Statute Ch. 169, and acting in accordance with the powers granted under section 5 (3)(b) (i) of the Student Discipline Statute Ch. 169, you are hereby excluded permanently from the University of Papua New Guinea.”

Mammoth task
Meanwhile, the SRC’s lawyer, Laken Lepatu Aigilol, has been sued by UPNG for allegedly aiding the students.

Aigilol said he hopes to challenge the action taken against him when it is heard in court next month on September 13.

“I call upon all the excluded student leaders to provide me copies of your termination letters so that I can look at seeking the court’s mercy and review this decision.

“It would be a mammoth task defending myself and the student leaders,” the lawyer said.

More members of the SRC are expected to receive the letter.

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