TERROR ON CAMPUS: USP STUDENTS, STAFF CALL FOR MORE SECURITY

By Mithleshni Gurdayal USP Journalism Graduate with the Daily Post

SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 22, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Indo-Fijian students and staff of the University of the South Pacific have demanded that security be stepped up at the Laucala campus in the Fiji Islands capital of Suva.

This follows an incident last Friday in which an Indo-Fijian student was allegedly assaulted by USP Students Association president Veresi Bainivualiku, who was also claimed to have threatened and sworn at some Indo-Fijian lecturers.

And they have called on the university to seek assistance from police and the army, as USP's security personnel seemed to sympathize with Fijian students.

Bainivualiku refused to comment when questioned.

An executive of the Indian Students Association said a majority of Indo-Fijian students were scared to walk alone after the incident.

"I think the university administration should take help from either the police or military because some of the university's security officers themselves have ganged up with the Fijian students," the official said.

"We certainly are not prepared to take this injustice."

Another Indo-Fijian female student said a group of students who were intoxicated with alcohol were roaming around the women's dormitory for two hours last Friday but were not apprehended by security personnel.

"I am an Indo-Fijian and I was very scared because I feel that some of these students are dragging politics - or shall I say anarchy – into campus," she said.

A Fijian student leader, Wainikiti Bogidrau, said the whole incident had been "blown out of proportion."

"What transpired and what these students are alleging is not true and is the subject of an investigation right now," Ms. Bogidrau said.

A Solomon Islands student said she was frightened for her life.

"In past years, Fijian students had problems with regional students and I think we may also be a target," she said.

The Association of USP Staff has written to the Registrar, Sarojini Pillay, demanding that the university tighten up security.

The association said the university should investigate its security officers.

"AUSPS is concerned about the threats made by the [students] president on USP staff and we wish to inform you that if you fail to provide security to the staff at the university then your office will be held responsible," the letter said.

The university's pro Vice Chancellor, Mere Pulea, said that the administration was aware of Friday's incident and was investigating.

* Earlier this month, the Indian Students Association called for an inquiry into staff and students who were alleged to have been involved in the May 19 insurrection. Bainivualiku's name had been among those alleged on various Internet lists to have been implicated in the rebellion.

Title -- 2914 FIJI: USP students, staff call for more security Date -- 22 August 2000 Byline -- Mithleshni Gurdayal Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- PN/Daily Post, 22/8/00 Copyright -- PN/Daily Post Status -- Abridged

 

STUDENT CHARGED WITH ASSAULT ON CAMPUS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 20, 2000 – Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Tension is brewing at the University of the South Pacific campus between indigenous Fijian and Indo-Fijian students after an Indian student and a security guard were manhandled by the president of the USP Students Association on Friday night, reports the Sunday Sun.

Tensions intensified [during May] when the Fijian Students Association (USPFSA) staged a protest against Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra's nomination by the university's select committee as Vice Chancellor ahead of Fijian economist Savenaca Siwatibau.

Esekia Solofa, a Samoan, currently holds the post that would be left vacant at the end of his term early next year.

According to a reliable source, the president of the USPSA, Veresi Bainivualiku, was also in the select committee as a student representative.

Bainivualiku was alleged to have disclosed confidential information about the selection criteria and later instigated the protest.

The Indian Students Association (USPISA) has disassociated itself from the protest, saying that the banner Bainivualiku used included all university student affiliates and that he had acted unethically in using the USPSA emblem in the act.

The Association of the University of the South Pacific Staff has urged the university to immediately expel Bainivualiku because of his role in the protest and his assault on staff and students on campus.

The association urged the university to carry out police investigations into his role in the disturbances on campus.

Title -- 2911 FIJI: USP student president accused of assault Date -- 20 August 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- PN/Sunday Sun, 20/8/00 Copyright -- PN/Sunday Sun Status -- Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/ 

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