AAU students discontinue classes
The Reporter, April 11, 2001
by a staff reporter
Addis Ababa University Students in the main campus (Sidist kilo) discontinued classes yesterday demanding the withdrawal of campus police from the University's compound and opposing the attempt by the University administration to put into effect the University's draft charter.
Some university students were assembled together and forced the University's J. F. Kennedy library to close down on Monday evening. Most of the students then gathered in front of the administration building, the former Genete Leul Palace, yesterday in the morning. The students presented their complaints to the vice-president of the University, Dr. Engineer
Hailu Ayele. They demanded the withdrawal of the campus police from the University's compound and to be replaced by its own police force. They also opposed the administration's attempt to put into effect the draft charter in whose drafting they did not participate. Besides, the students presented their complaints to the vice-president saying that the university's administration was intransigent and bureaucratic which finally resulted in the closure of the Addis Ababa University Student's Union (AAUSU). In addition, the students demanded clarifications on the behavior of the administration in creating various obstacles to prevent student gatherings.
The Reporter learnt that a meeting was scheduled at 2.00 pm yesterday between the students and the university administration. Accordingly, the faculty deans and the policy committee of the university and most students of the campus assembled at Lidet Hall. However, the students put a precondition, i.e, the release of some six students whom they said were imprisoned while they were going down to Arat Kilo and Amist Kilo campuses. In spite of the fact that the administration promised to investigate the matter without disbanding the meeting, the students refused to agree.
Due to their insistence, therefore, the administration was forced to leave the hall. But the students continued their discussion on the matter. According to sources, the students were discussing the issues of how the students union was abolished. Apart from that, many students complained that the administration had ostracized them from participating in the process of nomination of candidates for the vacant post of the presidency of the university. In this unilateral meeting, some members of the executive committee of the union were giving clarification about the course of actions that led to the abolishing the union, and the efforts of the union to participate in the process of drafting the charter. The student leaders told the crowd that the administration refused to allow them either to call a general meeting or to notify the students through notices, our sources revealed.
The Reporter contacted some students who expressed their opposition to some students whom they characterized as ''security agents''. Besides, they accused the administration of conspiring against the late newspaper, Hilina, published by the union only twice. Meanwhile, The Reporter learnt that the administration managed to get the six students released late in the afternoon. Then, they requested the students to continue the meeting with them for their precondition was fulfilled. However, the students declined to gather with them. They rather urged the Minister of Education, W/ro Genet Zewdie, to come and resolve the differences. Until The Reporter went to press, the students were electing members of a coordinating committee that could handle the matter in the coming days.
Until late afternoon yesterday, there were no clashes between the students and the police and the situation seemed to be peaceful. Recently, the administration had been engaged in drafting a charter and nominating candidates for the presidency.