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Fiji: Terror On Campus

Terror On Campus

(Headline in Daily Post)

* See Nius item 2912

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/ USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/ USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook

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 Indo-Fijian lecturers.

And they have called on the university to seek assistance from police and the army as USP's security personnel seemed to sympathise with Fijian students.

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 officers.

"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 rebellion.

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