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UWI students protest

News day / Separated by a fence, Copeland yesterday spoke with students of the Law Faculty who were protesting reports of their relocation without consultation, outside of the Teaching and Learning Complex while a UWI Council Meeting was taking place. During the morning hours of the meeting the students chanted, “No consultation.

No relocation.” President of the law students council Crystal Charles said that the students had been getting mixed information via the media from the UWI Marketing and Communications Office and Minister of Education Anthony Garcia about their relocation to the South Campus.

One report was that the students will occupy the South Campus from September, while another said the start up will be in January 2018.

Copeland explained that no decision had been taken on the start up of classes in Debe.

“The plans have not moved with any level of depth in going forward as far as South Campus is concerned. I am not sure what you have heard,” he said.

Copeland subsequently told the media that the university was still waiting on information from the contractors who will engage the project to finalise completion.

“We were hoping that by July construction would have finished.

“The earlier pronouncements that we could move in for semester one, that is no going to happen at all. We have to have all the other logistics in place,” he said. He added, “We have to make sure everything is in place. Do the walk through, which I will insist on and then we will decide when we will move in.” Noting that students were the university’s number one priority, he said a meeting with the law students is scheduled for Thursday.

“There is no way we are making a move without student involvement.” Recalling that UWI recently changed its GPA (Grade Point Average) system, he said, the Faculty of Engineering allowed the students enrolled at the time to ride out the old system, and allow incoming students to experience the new system.

“So nobody was compromised.

If that is the way we have to do it, that is the way we will do it,” he said.

As of now, he said, he did not know how things will go.

“Maybe we will have a facility up here. There will be connection between the two campuses.

It is not like everybody will be going down the road. For me to say what is planned, I have not seen the plan. The plan is still midstream,” he said.

Asked by student representative, Meshach Thornhill why did the campus management allowed students to demand an audience with the Campus Principal, Copeland said, he was told that a request was made to the office, but he had not seen it.

He said he had lost track of the number of countries he had been to in recent weeks because of the round of budget planning and council meetings he has had to attend for the year.

Contacted for comment, Education Minister Anthony Garcia said, “That is a matter that is in the hands of the university.

That is their baby, they are the ones who are responsible.

What I did in Parliament last week was to give an answer to a question that was asked by the Opposition and I made it very clear before I answered that we got information from UWI, with respect to the Penal/Debe campus.

“We would not want to intervene at this stage.” Minister in the Education Ministry, Dr Lovell Francis said, “In terms of completing that campus, government has already given to the UWI all of the funding required, so it is really not in our hands at the Ministry. It is really up to the UWI to deal with that issue.”

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