The battle line between the University of Ibadan Students’ Union and the school management has been drawn. The school was shut down and students were ordered out of their hostels. This was an aftermath of the peaceful protest held by students of the prestigious Premier University. One of the demands tabled before the management by the protesting students was the end to victimization of students by the Students’ Disciplinary Committee popularly known as SDC.
Uites have continued to live under the fear of this dreaded committee. When there is any slight disagreement between two students, the next thing one would hear is ‘There’s SDC o’ and then I ask, ‘ Is a student condemned already the moment he or she gets a letter from the SDC?’ Even in the court of law, you’re innocent until the court decides otherwise. Why then is the SDC an instrument used by the University of Ibadan management to silence students when they want to fight for their rights?
The original motive behind the composition of the committee was to discipline students involved in activities such as examination malpractice, cultism and other activities which are against the rules and regulations of the school. Why then is it now a committee to shut down anyone who’s ready to take the bull by the horn and say no to injustice?
I can recollect sometimes last session when the Head of a Department in my faculty threatened the president of a department that he would issue SDC letter to him simply because he was pestering him to allow one of the lecture theatres in the department to be used for tutorial classes. The same happened when the Dean of the same faculty recommended the Speaker of the Student Legislative Council in the faculty for disciplinary action courtesy of the same SDC letter he wrote simply because the young man was ready to expose the financial misconduct of the faculty president and other executives of the faculty’s association. He was left alone only after much pleading from staffs in the Dean’s office.
Is this what is obtainable in other world class universities? Back then as a fresher, a lecturer in the Department of Microbiology told me that I should not even think of standing before the Students’ Disciplinary Committee. Then, I began to wonder the set of people who make up this committee. Are they ‘gods’ that can’t be challenged? This means that even the academic staffs in the University of Ibadan are aware of the unholy activities of this committee. As far as I’m concerned, even with the issuance of the dreaded SDC letter, one should still be given fair hearing when called upon.
The perspective of most Uites is that once you get the SDC letter which is just like a notice, you are in for the worst. You may be suspended for semesters or even expelled. But is this suppose to be? Yes, some students have been to the SDC without being punished, but 75-85% of those who enter into that judgement room are usually victims of the ridiculous decisions and judgement passed by the committee.
It is time for Human right activists, local and international organizations, NGOs and well meaning individuals come to the aid of the students of the First and Best University in Nigeria so as to save them from the hands of the professors who sit and believe their verdict is final and there’s nothing anyone can do to it. Many students of the university have been unduly suspended and some even expelled outrightly. The corruption here in the University of Ibadan is becoming unbearable and these dons must be made to know that they are civil servants and not gods who cannot be questioned!