Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee in Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak

The Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr. Clement Apaak, says converting male halls into mixed-halls in an effort to mitigate violent clashes on campuses is not the best solution.

According to him, there is no guarantee that bringing females into these traditionally established male halls will prevent students from engaging in violent clashes on campuses.

He was speaking in relation to a decision by management of the University of Ghana to convert the Commonwealth Hall into a mixed-sex hall.

The decision was first taken by the University’s Executive Committee in 2010 in response to disturbances by students of the hall, which authorities say brought the name of the University into disrepute.

The University of Ghana had said the Vandal City, which has over the years been an only-boys hall of resident, will now be for both sexes.

The University believes by this move, Commonwealth Hall will not display the notoriety it has been known for over the years.

The decision is, however, yet to take effect following stiff opposition from students and alumni who accuse the University Management of trying to break the students’ front.

According to Dr. Apaak, blaming the violence on campus on Commonwealth hall merely due to its composition is a mistake on the part of the University’s Council.

He stated that the Mensah Sarbah hall which is often mentioned alongside Commonwealth hall when issues of clashes occur on the UG campus is a mixed hall, thus, buttressing his point that the composition of the hall does not matter.

He advised University Management to rather identify and sanction the persons who are involved in the clashes to serve as a deterrent to the general student population rather than converting the hall’s composition.

“Remember that Mensah Sarbah hall is a mixed hall, it’s a co-ed hall and yet that has not prevented them from engaging in these practices.

“In fact, Professor would admit that in the recent occurrences on Legon Campus, the causal factor was that students from Commonwealth Hall were out and about in their vehicle with their pendants and wearing their Vandal t-shirts, they were accosted and assaulted and that was the casual factor that then resulted in what many may describe as retribution.

“So we ought to be at least, truthful to the issues and try to see how we can identify the people who perpetrate these conducts and then punish them. Because if we just say we’re going to bring females into Commonwealth, we’re going to appoint fellows to be in charge and we’re not going to have JCR executives as in the case of KNUST, what is the guarantee that this is going to curtail these occurrences?” he said.