Maseno University students were forced to leave the institution on the night of Sunday, December 1, after the university senate met and gave an abrupt order for the students to vacate by 7:30 p.m.
According to an internal memo seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the senate reached the decision within 30 minutes of convening, in response to student riots over increased cases of insecurity in the area, including rape and knife attacks.
“Following unrest by students over alleged rape cases reported to have occurred in off-campus students residences and failure by the students to engage university management on structured discussions on the same, Senate sat on 1st December at 7 pm and resolved to close the university with immediate effect and until further notice.”
"Students are expected to vacate the University by 7:30 pm today Sunday 1st December 2019,” read the memo.
According to a student at the university located along the Kisumu-Busia Road in Kisumu County, students were ordered to vacate their halls of residence within 30 minutes of the memo release.
The student narrated to this writer how many of her colleagues, residing inside the institution were stranded following the impromptu closure of the institution.
The source further revealed that 2 students were raped by unknown assailants while another one was left nursing wounds after being cut in the arms using a machete, an incident that prompted students to stage riots.
Through Twitter, students wrote to condemn the order to vacate at night arguing that it put their lives in danger.
OkoreEsq wrote; “The Senate Maseno University should be disbanded and the administration sacked for closing a university at night.”
Martha Mwatha wrote; “The University Senate sat at 7 p.m. on Sunday and decided students should vacate the school by 7:30 same day. Are we now punishing students for standing up against rape and insecurity?"
Further students expressed how many were left in the dark without a definite place for shelter after the unprecedented move.
Miss Matti wrote; “Maseno 30 minutes notice surely??? My sister just called she doesn't even know anyone outside that campus.”
Gerald Ngao wrote; “Why send innocent first-year female students home at night? What if she's sexually abused?? How about the poor parent back in the hood?”
Watetu Kabeu-Mwai wrote; I still can't keep calm. That Maseno senate decided to close the university, the only home that most students know at night. Which parent does that?”
Speaking to the Daily Nation, Nyanza Regional Police Commander Vincent Makokha confirmed the communication with the university management that reached the idea of closing down the institution at late hours to avoid destruction of property in the institution.
"The riots could have been [stage] managed. A section of the students were not prepared for the ongoing exams," Makokha is quoted by the publication.
However, the Student Organisation of Maseno University secretary-general Alex Kalugho blamed the police for the increased rate of insecurity regretting that suspects in the rape incidences were still at large.
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