PNG COURT UPHOLDS EXPULSION OF SEMINARY STUDENTS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 10) – A district court in the Papua New Guinea province of Lae has ordered two students who supported a petition critical of the Martin Luther Seminary (MLS) administration last year to leave the campus.

The two students were part of an initial group of six whose studies were terminated by the seminary after they publicly raised allegations about the seminary administration.

The students had also claimed there was an acute shortage of academic staff and a general lack of concern for the students’ well being.

The dispute landed in the courts in August last year, with a decision reached last week directing the two students to vacate the campus.

The two — John Sira and Steve — Waluwa were final year theology students and are the last of the six who initially took up the concerns with the seminary. The others — Jimmy Mondo (3rd year), Miel Iffon and Benjamin Ninge (4th year) — also had their studies terminated for supporting the the petition, but had left the campus voluntarily and in show of support for their two colleagues.

Spokesman Jimmy Mondo last week said that they decided to also leave campus as all nine were penalised together and are fighting the same issue.

Mr Mondo said that lecturers were hesitant to address the issue, showing a lack of concern for the students well being.

"Our eviction is not the solution to the problem. We will keep on fighting until justice is done for the good of ELC PNG students and the 1.2 million Lutherans in PNG," he said.

He renewed their calls for ELCPNG head bishop Dr Wesley Kigasung to address the issues they raised.

He said Dr Kigasung had verbally assured them of personally taking time to look into the matter.

August 10, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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