Hundreds Of Graduates Of Solomons Islands National University Refused Entry To Ceremony

Eligible graduates left off list feel shocked and ashamed

By Ronald Toito’ona

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 27, 2017) – Hundreds of Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students who were part of the 1,700 eligible graduates were turned back and refused entry into the Maranatha hall, on graduation day.

This came following the omission of their names in the final listing of the eligible graduates.

What was supposed to be a proud moment for the students and parents turned into shock and shame as they were told in the last minute that their names were not in the final listing.

One eye witness told the Solomon Star that it was a sorry scene, when the disappointed students all dressed in their best attire were turned back from the venue.

The Solomon Star was aware of the situation yesterday morning, after a prompt call was made by the students concerned.

After leaving the Maranatha Hall premises, they head straight to the Kukum Campus to demand explanation from the University SAS, finance, and administration.

“We were in the parade as the graduation tune was played in the hall,” one affected student told the Solomon Star.

“To our surprise, some lecturers showed up with lists of names and told us to leave the procession,” he added.

“What they did to us was shameful and shocking.”

The student, who spoke on behalf of those affected, added it was sad that their parents and family members were present for the big occasion, but things turned out badly for them.

“I was in my gown already, joined in the procession but was told to leave.

“Imagine this painful feeling, this is unacceptable,” one student commented.

From accounts gathered from the students, some even shed tears when told to leave the parade.

The student rep said they are demanding explanation from the University as to why the change happened in the last minute.

“We were part of the rehearsal on Monday and Tuesday and our names were in the final list that was released.

“We showed up, enjoyed the rehearsal, and filled with joy, because we knew that our big day is today (yesterday).

“However, it turned out painful and shocking for us.

“The university must clarify why they are omitting our names in the last minute,” he said.

Further to that, students and parents who traveled all the way from the provinces to be part of the graduation ceremony also raised their disagreements.

“It costs us thousands of dollars to come here prepared for the graduation.

“Some of us, our parents even flew in from the provinces by plane to attend this graduation ceremony only to see us ended up not graduating,” one female student told the Solomon Star.

She said they were very sorry that they could not join some of their other friends who are graduating yesterday.

That said, the student rep advised the university that they did not want to see students that will be graduating next year treated the same way.

When contacted, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Basil Shelton Marasinghe said he will enquire into why this had happened.

Professor Marasinghe however, explained that in order to graduate, students have to fulfill two requirements:

  1. Academic Requirements such as passing the exams
  2. Paying the fees in full.

“It is possible that some students or their sponsors may have not paid the fees by the deadline,” he told the Solomon Star.

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