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Invited guests have a right to be heard – UWI


The University of the West Indies (UWI), in a statement issued Tuesday, said notwithstanding the right of its scholars to protest, guests invited within the university community have a right to be heard in circumstances befitting themselves and their audience.

The statement, issued by the Office of Public Information, UWI, Cave Hill said the UWI has always sought to uphold the highest standards of propriety in the execution of its affairs.

“In this regard, the university encourages and expects members of its community to adhere to such standards, whether as a representative of The UWI or in the conduct of their business as private citizens, and the university deplores deviations from its cherished norms.

“At the same time, The UWI recognizes and respects the right to academic freedom as a treasured practice and principle among its community of scholars. Indeed, it supports this right with an institutional expectation that it will invariably be upheld within the finest traditions of academic decorum.

“To this end, The UWI wishes to reaffirm that guests invited within the university community for public engagement have a right to be heard in circumstances befitting themselves and their audience, notwithstanding the right to academic freedom and the concomitant right to protest,” the statement said.

Although the statement did not make reference to any particular incident, it is believed to have been issued following an incident at the Cave Hill campus on Thursday, February 22 where Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves had gone to deliver a lecture on ‘Effects Of International Relief On CARICOM Small Island Developing States.’.

While there, he was confronted by three protesters, one of whom said they were in “solidarity with our sisters and brothers across the region.”

The protesters, UWI lecturer Dr Kristina Hinds, public relations officer of the National Organization of Women Marsha Hinds, and Luci Hammans of the Life In Leggings movement, said they were calling for “justice for Farrell” and demanding “an end to nepotism.”

The protest went on for about 10 minutes before the women left the lecture theatre in the company of security officials.