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Administration turning blind eye to hazing at UWI Mona campus
I am writing this to warn everyone about what happens at UWI Mona campus when someone decides to live in one of the traditional halls of residence. When one accepts an offer from the hall, students are asked to come for a two-day orientation. At first there are smiles and welcome but from the moment the hall fees are paid and a student takes up residence, he/she will find out that “orientation” is just a sanitised term for serious ragging, also known as grubbing and hazing, and it continues well after classes have begun.
Students are subjected to severe sleep deprivation (a method of torture used in war), humiliated, threatened with physical violence and subjected to physical violence severe enough to cause injury. Threats are also made to damage their personal property and in some cases, I understand that property has actually been damaged. It is like an initiation into a cult or a gang. Should students be tempted to disclose how they were injured, further threats of violence are made or they are ostracised. They are bullied into silence.
I believe that everyone in the administration and all other staff are aware of what happens, but apparently they are waiting for someone to be killed or commit suicide. Or maybe they are waiting for a lawsuit. The only action that is taken is that every so often someone will ask the students if they are being made to do anything that they do not want to do. They ask this in front of other students and, knowing what the severe consequences will be, no student ever answers in the affirmative.
There are many who would say that they went through this and that they are better for it. Fine. Then Mona and all of UWI campuses should have Halls of ragging and Halls of non-ragging. Students can choose if they would like to be beaten and threatened or not, without fear of being ostracised.
I consider this to be a human rights issue. If this type of treatment was meted out to citizens of any country outside of the university setting, human rights groups would be crying out for action and justice, Yet these students are left to fend for themselves and no one is doing anything about it.
I am pleading with the human rights groups and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take action. There are Trinidadian and Tobagonian students being subjected to this abuse. You cannot expect a student to write a letter of complaint to you and then have him/her remain on that campus to complete the degree. He/she will be forced to abandon studies after that and the degree may not be offered on any other campus.
I urge everyone to go on the internet and view a short film made by a student at Mona some years ago. It’s called Rude Awakening. Please make special note of the young lady who was gleefully awaiting her turn to bully and humiliate incoming students. It will also be instructive to read some of the obscenity-laced comments by persons supporting this disgusting practice. Those are the types of individuals whom the administration allows to have free rein with your children.
Naparima Mayaro Road
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