Pera student union declares campus out of bounds for all politicians

Say no to even President Sirisena opening new buildings

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Undergraduates of Peradeniya University yesterday warned that they would not allow the university administration to bring politicians including President Maithripala Sirisena for opening of new faculties and buildings within the university premises.

President of the Students’ Council Lasantha Aruna Shantha charged that government members were trying to gain political mileage by attending ceremonies to open the new Management Faculty, Post Graduate Institute of Medicine and four hostels.

"We are totally against political shows within the university premises," he said adding that President Maithripala Sirisena had not responded to their request for a discussion in the run-up to the Presidential election as well as after assuming office.

Shantha said that they had invited then Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena to a panel discussion regarding the education policy at the Peradeniya University on Dec. 28, but in vain.

President Sirisena had also been apprised of 30 major grievances in the higher education section on Jan. 21 after he became President, but he had not responded, the student leader said.

The student activist said that they asked for a discussion with Higher Education Minister and State Minister of Higher Education on Feb. 12, but they too were silent on the student requests. The government had ordered a crackdown on a student protest near Temple Trees on March 31, he said.

"Establishment of the new Management Faculty in the university was a result of student protests and not due to efforts of politicians," Shantha said, adding that though they had scheduled the opening of four new hostels, the government had failed to solve problems in the existing hostels.

Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Athula Senaratne said that government politicians had to be invited to those ceremonies as the government had funded the projects.

"A small group of students try to create trouble inside the university, but majority of students are not with them," Prof. Senaratne said.

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