Published: Mar 9, 2012 01:08 Updated: Mar 9, 2012 01:08
More than 50 women students were injured while protesting about alleged poor educational standards on the campus of two King Khalid University women's colleges on Wednesday.
Asir Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khaled ordered an immediate investigation into the incidents at the College of Education and College of Literature.
The demands of women students at the College of Education and College of Literature included an end to alleged ill-treatment by faculty members and administrative staff and an efficient system to keep the college campus clean.
The university administration said it would investigate the cause of the incidents and take steps to deal with the issues, Al-Watan daily reported yesterday.
“On Tuesday several students were shouting and misbehaving in the college complex. They attacked security guards, administrative staff and faculty members. They were saying their demands were not fulfilled,” Director of Public Relations at the university Awad Al-Qarni said.
Students started gathering Wednesday morning in front of the college buildings and protesting after some of them were called by the administration to discuss their issues, he said.
“After that the situation worsened and students started destroying university property. Fire extinguishers and water hoses were used against the vandalizing students and some of them fainted,” he said.
He said one of the guardians had driven away some cleaning workers and that caused the accumulation of garbage at the university.
Students alleged that cleaning operations were never properly undertaken and supervisory officials were arrogant.
“We have to walk on mounds of garbage that have accumulated close to the cafeteria. It is because the university authorities are neglecting cleaning operations,” said a student, who gave her name as K.E.
“I don’t go to classes often because of the poor conditions in the university. Faculty members and administrative officials treat us badly.”
She added that students wanted a total change in the situation and that they were fully aware of their rights as students.
A student who gave her name as H.S said the authorities did not even bother to furnish lecture halls with a sufficient number of chairs and the complaints of students were never heeded.
A parent, who did not want his name published, said most of the water taps remain closed and the cafeteria was not open on Wednesday.
The sister of an injured girl alleged students were shoved or beaten up, causing injuries.
A number of officers from the police, Civil Defense, Health Department and Red Crescent as well as members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) were present at the scene of the disturbances.
Parents of the injured girls demanded the Ministry of Education set up a commission to investigate the issues.
A spokesman of the Health Department in Asir province said 22 students were admitted to hospitals such as Asir Central, Ahad Rafidah General, military hospital, Abha General and Khamis Mushayt General. He added 31 cases were treated on the campus itself.
Haia spokesman in the province Awad Al-Asmari said 50 commission members were sent to the scene. They provided protection to students, helped girls contact their parents and collaborated with other departments to solve the issue as quickly as possible.
The spokesman denied any girls were injured by Haia members. “On the other hand, the Haia presence created a sense of peace and security in the girls,” he said.
The members did not enter the college until after all girls left with their guardians, he said.