Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is once again on the spot over the safety of students.
Soon after several reports of attacks on students, another student was injured by an armed gang this week.
This was two days after the university reopened following its closure a week ago following student protests against runaway insecurity on the campus.
We demand urgent measures to guarantee safety of students in and out of campus.
The university authorities must take this matter seriously. Universities have responsibility over the safety and well-being of students.
They have a duty of care and cannot just confine themselves to providing academic programmes while neglecting safety and welfare of students.
Most students are in their late teens or early twenties, and still need a lot of physical, moral and psychological support from their institutions.
The genesis of the student safety crisis is the inability of universities to accommodate all learners because of inadequate hostels, itself a consequence of funding cuts that forced the institutions to delink themselves from offering non-academic programmes.
But in outsourcing services like accommodation to private players, the universities must get involved to ascertain the kind of facilities and environment those individuals offer to students. But this is not the case.
In particular, it’s disturbing that JKUAT has recorded several cases of student attacks. There are several incidents of robberies, violence and even death in and around the institution.
In February, a first-year student at the institution was stabbed to death by gangsters, who only wanted her cell phone.
One would have expected the tragedy to serve as a wake-up call to the institution and triggered heightened security and surveillance. Instead, and most unfortunately, it served as a mere statistic in a long list.
But the incidents are not only confined to JKUAT. Other universities have equally recorded numerous attacks of students.
It is a national threat and requires action not just from the universities, but also the national government.
Indeed, it adds to the negative stories about public universities where issues of quality have been raised and now safety of students.
Education ministry must rethink funding and management of universities.
All public universities are suffering shortage of student hostels forcing many to stay out of campus where nobody cares about their security and well-being.
A more practical solution is required that addresses welfare of students besides the academics.
Safety of our children in public universities is not negotiable.