Tuesday, 20 September 2016

SUTC, Student Unionism and Division of Student Affairs

By Gracious Egedegbe

The Student Union Transition Committee (SUTC) has been shrouded in mysteriousness and vagueness that many students do not even know what it is all about. Last week, the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) of the Obafemi Awolowo University stated that it had no hand in the SUTC. The Dean announced that the SUTC was a relic of the past administration and not of the present one. However, this does not explain what the SUTC is all about.

In the month of August 2016, news went round that the office of the DSA led by in consort with some past Student Union officers alongside Presidents of departments and other political Individuals had initiated the SUTC. The aim of this, as alleged, was to constitute a Student Union that would entirely be in the control of the University Management.

Several students, particularly those that identified with several ideological camps rejected this move. They regarded it as anti-student, anti-constitutional and un-congressional and claimed that the actualization of SUTC would amount to a Student Union slavish to the University Management. They demanded for a process independent of the University Management.

This conflict of ideas sparked controversy within the student populace. While the average student continued with his daily activities, ‘political conscious students’ were engaged in writing releases explaining their positions and denouncing their proponents. At the time, some members of the Student Union Security Council resigned, citing displeasure with the SUTC as reasons. The Student Union Security Council was an organ vested with the power to run the affairs of the student pending the elections of Union Executives.

From all appearances, it appeared that several individuals were instrumental to the formation of the SUTC and aspirations to be fulfilled by its actualization. On the other hand, certain students were worried that the actualisation of the SUTC would mark the end of vibrant, sincere unionism on campus. They felt the welfare of the student populace was going to be sacrificed on the altar of selfish ambitions. Therefore, it was a source of relief to the leftists and their sympathisers when the Elujoba administration threw out the SUTC.

As an alternative, the current dean of the DSA announced that faculties should hold congresses in which they would elected two representatives towards the elections of new Student Union executives. However, the roles of these representatives have not been fully defined and at the moment, some Faculties have still been having difficulties in the selection process.

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