UPSA Hostel ‘midnight inspection’ of students is wrong and abuse of the right to privacy of students of the University. The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy of individuals.
UPSA Hostel ‘midnight inspection’ carried out by the school at the school’s hostel located close at the back gate of PRESEC Legon is one of the bad policies any university can introduce. The university is a tertiary institution, not a basic school or secondary school and students in the university are matured per the laws of Ghana.
Attempts by the university to ensure student safety and discipline are important but to go a step further to organize unannounced or announced inspections in a university for adults 18 years and above amounts to using the bylaws of the university and the hotel to intrude on the privacy of students.
Although the laws that govern and bind students at the hostel may spell out such outrageous sanctions, the inspection they do at odd hours is wrong. It is not done at the Senior High School.
The University of Professional Studies has however found a level 200 students guilty of this weird offence and has therefore sanctioned her. She has been banned from the Hostel effective the second semester of the 2019/2020 academic year. This ban will continue for three semesters.
Some parents, guardians and students have complained about this inspection in silence until now for fear of being victimized. Nut students are beginning to open up on this abuse of their right to privacy at the hostel.
“The children are afraid of being victimised…My daughter called me; mummy it’s okay, don’t come, I am okay. I want to just keep quiet over this and write my exams and leave,” she said. That was what a victim told the mum in her quest to “kill” the case before any form of victimization.
In our quest to find out what rules the student might have broken and the penalties for such offences, we checked the rules that govern the residents of students from the school’s RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING RESIDENCE IN THE UPSA HOSTEL (NEW EDITION)
According to the regulations, section 15, Guests were permitted from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm and authorities at the school are to make decisions to safeguard students while ensuring all visitors follow laid down rules and regulations.
Males and Females are not permitted to visit each others floors before 7:00 am and are also not allowed to stay in the rooms of the opposite sex after 10:00 pm. In this regard, officers at post can ask any visitor who has stayed beyond the permitted hour to leave.
These rules might have informed the midnight inspection, however, the decision to ban the student is rather harsh and inconsiderate. A letter written by the school to the student on the matter did not indicate if the student had committed a similar offence in the past. It did not indicate if the student had accommodated their guest in the room either.
However, the hostel rules indicated that a sanction for such an act among others amounted to outright dismissal.
It stated “SANCTIONS: The first offence shall attract outright dismissal from the hostel. This sanction is without prejudice to any other sanction that may be recommended by the Dean of students to the Vice-Chancellor.”
The UPSA Hostel ‘midnight inspection’ of students is wrong even if it is done at 10 pm or it is spelt out in the rules and regulations of the school.
There should be better systems of ensuring visitors exit the facility as required. Where a visitor is found to be within the facility after 10 pm, both students and officers at the hostel must face the penalty and not a hush penalty on a student while officer at post that night go around free.