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J'pura undergrads take their problems to the streets

2013 Oct 11

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Undergraduates of the Sri Jayewardenepura University launched a protest opposite the university’s main gate yesterday, to collect signatures against what they called the suppression of students and a gazette notification facilitating the establishment of private higher education institutions.

Former representative of the Students’ Council Sameera Sampath told The Island that they also wanted to make the people of the area aware and would, therefore, distribute leaflets among the public regarding present student problems.

He said that the university administration did not allow students unions to function and that was a violation of the University Act.

Sampath said that there were only two unions in the Arts and Medical Faculties, but the university administration forced office bearers of the Medical Sciences Faculty Union to resign and dissolved it recently.

The university administration had earlier done the same thing to the Management Faculty Union, he said, adding that the Applied Sciences Faculty Union was not active.

"The University administration didn’t even allow them to hold a popular arts festival this year due to there being no Students’ Council," Sampath said.

The student activist said that when students protested demanding their rights, the university administration had expelled 11 protesters and suspended 75.

"Since no solution can be obtained through discussions with the Vice Chancellor, we decided to take our case to the streets," Sampath said.

He said that their 50-foot-long protest banner would be taken to all main towns three days after collecting signatures on it opposite the university.

Vice Chancellor of the University Dr. N. L. A. Karunaratne was not available for comment.   

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