Four ousted Students’ Representative Council (SRC) executives have filed a lawsuit at an Accra High Court contesting the decision of the management of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) not to recognize them as the legitimate heads of the student populace.
The plaintiffs, Alimatu Quaye (President), Edinam Adoboe (Vice President), Bryan Sarpong (Gen. Secretary), and Esther Dorman (Women Commissioner) filed the lawsuit on March 31, 2021.
This is on the back of the decision by the school’s management, ordering the re-election of new SRC executives after students protested against the school’s authority in calling for a standing body to represent them.
The school directed that a proper election must be held to elect a new executive body to represent the students at top hierarchy meetings.
This decision did not go down well with the denounced and now-defunct SRC executive body who have dragged the management before court, demanding their reinstatement and recognition as the legitimate team to lead the affairs of the GIJ students.
In their writ of summons, the ousted Alimatu Quaye administration demands the following:
“A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 30 of the GIJ SRC Constitution, the action of the SRC President in suspending Article 20(1)(b) of the constitution and getting the Plaintiffs appointed as Interim SRC executives were a lawful exercise of authority and therefore the Plaintiffs are the legitimately appointed Interim SRC representatives and ought to be recognized as such.”
They are also seeking an “order setting aside the 15-member Interim Management Committee for students of the school, as unconstitutional, null and void and of no legal effect.”
The plaintiffs also want “a declaration that by the provisions of the ‘GIJ Undergraduate Students Handbook’ Management of the defendant Institute has no mandate to interfere in the affairs of the students and the SRC to assist in resolving a dispute arising between students and their leadership in extreme cases which threaten normal academic work.”
Sidelining of SRC
Management of GIJ on February 8, 2021, declared its decision not to recognize the current appointed leaders spearheading the affairs of the students, describing the committee as “alien to the constitution.”
According to management, “appointment of students to hold office as SRC leaders is alien to the SRC Constitution and in any case did not follow the procedure for the selection of student leaders as stipulated in the SRC Constitution.”
Ahead of every academic calendar, the SRC constitution specifically indicates that an election must be conducted to elect SRC executives, however, the 2020/2021 season was different as the Joseph Agbezuke administration failed to transition power due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A seven-member committee was set up by the immediate past SRC to vet interested aspirants to occupy executive positions of the SRC.
However, after submission of a report by the Dean of Students to the Rector of GIJ Professor Kwamena Kwansah- Aidoo, management came to a conclusion that it will not recognize them as leaders “and advises the appointed leaders not to hold themselves out or allow themselves to be held out as representatives of students of GIJ.”
It added that “students shall elect a minimum of ten (10) and a maximum of seventeen (17) students representing the various constituencies of the student body to act on an interim basis to put in place structures, institutions and a timetable for the conduct of elections.”
“The elected students shall liaise with the office of Dean of Students to ensure a smooth transition from an interim student body to the election of permanent leaders by the SRC Constitution,” it further indicated.
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