Unam Students Want Inquiry

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Frustrated by regular reported cases of theft and other unacceptable behaviour by senior University of Namibia (Unam) staff, students at the institution are pressing for a commission of inquiry. Yesterday, New Era spoke to some students to find out how they feel about the spate of thefts that have been reported in recent weeks at the university. Speaking on condition of anonymity, some students lamented the fact that the recent scandals have tarnished the image of the institution. “The image is really tarnished and moreover, these things they are stealing were bought using our money which in a normal situation was supposed to go for our education and not for people to enrich themselves,” said one student. This situation, according to the students, calls for a commission of inquiry to look into all aspects of the university and its management. “It is good that these cases are exposed. We should fight corruption because it is bad just like rotten food,” stated one dissatisfied student. In the same vein, students feel the standards of the institution have gone down, adding that as an institution of higher learning in the country, Unam must come up with strict control mechanisms that would tighten any loose ends in order to prevent a recurrence of theft. “They should just investigate these things because they are also affecting us as students and even in future when we go look for jobs, people would be looking at us as thieves,” added yet another student. Another one joked that they are embarrassed to wear T-shirts that have a Unam print or logo as they feel the institution is nothing to be proud of. “We cannot tolerate these things, it is just too bad for us. Unam should do things that would set an example for small institutions. Perhaps they should reshuffle the management,” he suggested. Students further feel that the punishment given to the alleged perpetrators is not deterrent enough as these people are suspended on full pay with the disciplinary process being protracted before cases are concluded. “It is like paying someone for doing something wrong.” Two weeks ago, the university suspended two of its senior academics on charges of theft of computers. Early this week, another suspect Martino Vonkie Olivier, the Head of the Accommodation Section in the Office of the Dean of Students at Unam was suspended, charged with theft and released on bail of N$1 000. He allegedly procured three Digital Satellite Receivers (Vivid bouquet) last year August for student hostels but upon purchase, only one of the three products was given to the Dean of International Programmes. Last year July, the university suspended three examination officers from its Examinations Department for allegedly receiving bribes in return for altering the results of several students who performed poorly in certain subjects. Cases of stolen examination papers have also been reported in the past.