UCAD returns to work after campus closure

The rector of the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, or UCAD, said the university would reopen at the beginning of October, following closure of the campus in August due to violence in which a student died during a confrontation with police. Professor Ibrahima Thioub also said police were being withdrawn from the site to help calm the situation.

Students called a strike in August after Bassirou Faye, a science student, was shot dead by police during protests over non-payment of grants and other grievances linked to government reforms.

Following negotiations with the authorities and approval of UCAD’s select committee, Thioub said the completion of the 2013-14 academic year would take place on 20 December, and 2 January 2015 would mark the start of the 2014-15 year, reported Sud Quotidien of Dakar.

Sud Quotidien said the students’ demands for removal of police from the campus had not fallen on deaf ears.

Thioub announced that, among other measures to restore peace, the UCAD select committee had decided to withdraw police from the campus, though he specified that their presence – or not – would depend on the situation at the university.

He also said it was planned to lift the suspension on activities by student associations, on the basis of mutually agreed terms, reported Agence de Presse Sénégalaise of Dakar.

Thioub added that students would be allowed to move back into their rooms during the current year, but that they would have to move out when required after examinations, for reallocation in the new year.

Le Soleil of Dakar reported that UCAD would receive nearly 22,000 new students in the new year, out of Senegal’s 31,000 school-leavers qualified for university entrance, while there was room for a total of only 12,750.

This, the paper pointed out, highlighted the problem of overcrowding.

Thioub announced that refurbishment and rehabilitation of lecture halls would begin this year, necessitating the use of provisional premises. In addition, work to clean up the campus and restoration of public lighting and roadways would shortly be carried out.

UCAD was also going to introduce complete internet and wifi coverage for students throughout the campus.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.