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Nov 15, 2006

U.B. students continue to pressure administration

Story PictureControversy between the students of the University of Belize and its board of management moved from Belmopan to the streets of Belize City. News Five’s Janelle Chanona has the details from this afternoon’s protest rally.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Escorted by members of the Belize Police Department, this afternoon a small but determined group of University of Belize students took the streets of the old capital to publicly demonstrate against proposed increases in fees and the transfer of the Freetown Road campus to the Government of Belize.

Moses Sulph, President, U.B. Student Body
?If we are going to stand for something, we must know exactly what it is we are standing for.?

Leading the protest was student body president Moses Sulph, who made his peers? feelings clear.

Moses Sulph
?We are saying that we cannot afford the increase in fees. We are not going to allow and increase in fees. We would like to know your or our input basically on the compound issue. As we can see right now it is not realistic that the university and ITVET can co-exist together.?

In response to the students concerns, U.B. President Dr. Corinth Morter Lewis again restated the board?s position.

Corinth Morter Lewis, U.B. President
?We have never as an administration agreed to disband the engineering department and its programme. Never once was that ever up for negotiation. What was being asked was that the engineering department because it has the faculty with the qualifications that were needed, that they would help to facilitate what they call the level three of the ITVET project. What was seen in ITVET project was that it would bring with it some of the equipment that we felt that we would not be able to provide. So it was on the basis of this that the board, and like I said we had discussed it with faculty and with the staff, to look at whether this could work. Up on to October we were still discussing and negotiating the possibility of making that happen. Positions have been taken by the students that you do not want the?or at least that is what I am hearing from the board meeting yesterday that you do not want to have the ITVET project on your campus. How we will resolve that one becomes a bit of a problem.?

As for the issue of higher education costs, Dr. Lewis referred the students to the Musa administration.

Corinth Morter Lewis
?I have heard the concerns from students and some members of faculty that they do not want to see any increase in fees ever. Now how can that be facilitated I don?t know. The government would perhaps have to deal with that one because the university itself cannot respond to that.?

The students have promised to outline their counterproposals to the fees increase and title transfer in a letter to the University board for consideration.

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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