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By Mithleshni Gurdayal
USP Journalism Graduate with the Daily Post
SUVA: Indo-Fijian students and staff of the University of the South
Pacific have demanded that security be stepped up at the Laucala campus
in the Fiji islands capital of Suva.
This follows an incident last Friday in which an Indo-Fijian student was
allegedly assaulted by USP Students Association president Veresi
Bainivualiku, who was also claimed to have threatened and sworn at some
And they have called on the university to seek assistance from police
and the army as USP's security personnel seemed to sympathise with
Bainivualiku refused to comment when questioned.
An executive of the Indian Students Association said a majority of
Indo-Fijian students were scared to walk alone after the incident.
"I think the university administration should take help from either
police or military because some of the university's security officers
themselves have ganged up with the Fijian students," the official said.
"We certainly are not prepared to take this injustice."
Another Indo-Fijian female student said a group of students who were
intoxicated with alcohol were roaming around the women's dormitory for
two hours last Friday but were not apprehended by security personnel.
"I am an Indo-Fijian and I was very scared because I feel that some of
these students are dragging politics - or shall I say anarchy - into
campus," she said.
A Fijian student leader, Wainikiti Bogidrau, said the whole incident had
been "blown out of proportion".
"What transpired and what these students are alleging is not true and is
subject of an investigation right now," Ms Bogidrau said.
A Solomon Islands student said she was frightened for her life.
"In past years, Fijian students had problems with regional students and
I think we may also be a target," she said.
The Association of USP Staff has written to the Registrar, Sarojini
Pillay, demanding that the university tighten up security.
The association said the university should investigate its security
"AUSPS is concerned about the threats made by the [students] president
on USP staff and we wish to inform you that if you fail to provide
security to the staff at the university then your office will be held
responsible," the letter said.
The university's pro Vice-Chancellor, Mere Pulea, said that the
administration was aware of Friday's incident and was investigating.
* Earlier this month, the Indian Students Association called for an
inquiry into staff and students who were alleged to have been involved
in the May 19 insurrection. Bainivualiku's name had been among those
alleged on various Internet lists to have been implicated in the
Title -- 2914 FIJI: USP students, staff call for more security
Date -- 22 August 2000
Byline -- Mithleshni Gurdayal
Origin -- Pasifik Nius
Source -- PN/Daily Post, 22/8/00
Copyright -- PN/Daily Post
Status -- Abridged
TERROR ON CAMPUS
(Headline in Daily Post)
* See Nius item 2912
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