Residential freedom in universities is not a license for hooliganism – Dr. Bawumia

Sammy Danso Eghan
Sammy Danso Eghan
6 Min Read

Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has stated that residential freedom on university campuses should not be misconstrued to leave behind decorum and courtesy.

Dr. Bawumia was speaking at the 60th anniversary launch of Mensah Sarbah Hall, and the unveiling of the new John Mensah Sarbah statue in University of Ghana on Friday, 17th February, 2023.

He urged students to channel residential commitments to fight hooliganism, mischief, and criminality.

“The sense of academic freedom in universities is sometimes mistaken for a license to leave behind  all courtesies and decorum, instilled by guardians, and the world out there. To many, university life is a great opportunity for uncontrolled deviation from social norm in the assumption of freedom without associated responsibilities. It is ideal if the commitment to residence is safely shepherded and insulated against a gradual decent into a well of mischief, waywardness, hooliganism, and sometimes, sheer criminality.”

Dr. Bawumia further underscored the contributions of Mensah Sarbah to development in Ghana, and urged the youth to emulate the virtues of iconic statesman and nationalist, John Mensah Sarbah, whose legacy is a blueprint for leadership and sacrifice.

“Ghana’s forefathers were attracted by [Sarbah’s] vision, his fight for the preservation of indigenous institutions, and his quest for equity and justice. Fortunately, this hall has an august mentor, John Mensah Sarbah, whose life and ideals should provide a blueprint for the younger generation of students,” he said.

Considering the many distinguished alumni the hall had produced in the past 60years, he urged the hall management, and alumni to ensure that the hall continues to be a nursery for leadership.

“I urge Sarbah Hall on the occasion of your 60th anniversary, to continue to be a nursery for leadership, considering the several distinguished alumni you have produced for the past 60years. Continue to pave way for younger ones and set a good example for the next generation of students,” he said.

Dr. Bawumia also lauded the university and the hall for innovating new ways to curb the perennial accommodation challenges faced by students.

“Indeed, this is also an opportunity to congratulate the university, and Mensah Sarbah Hall for astutely clinging to a residential system which has been jolted over the years by students’ agitation, upheavals, and cries for a dynamic transformation. Today, the university has moved beyond its traditional halls of residence, of which five were built from the early 1950s to 1963…The Vikings Hostel established in 2021 is a shining example of innovative leadership worthy of emulation by hall based alumni in the various universities. It speaks to the unity of purpose and the sense of institutional commitment within the traditional hall system,” he said.

The Vice President highlighted the impact of John Mensah Sarbah’s commitment to thinking and looking ahead on his life. He stated it should compel Ghanaians to generate new ideas for problem solving.

“But there was one guiding principle of Mensah Sarbah, which has impacted my own life, and that of government. Mensah Sarbah’s commitment to thinking ahead, when he founded Mfantsipim in 1876, as the first secondary school in the country. He gave the motto which should be relevant to to all institutions of learning and governments. The motto was, “Think and look ahead (Dwen hwe kan)”. A government and its people should always think ahead of their time and  look into the future. This is a vision that has shaped my own personality, compelling us all to play our part in building institutions that generate new thinking, new ideas, modernizing economic and political governance,” he said.

Dr. Bawumia also revealed that the vision of Mensah Sarbah to think and look ahead is a driving force in the government’s digitalization agenda.

“The Mensah Sarbah vision is what drives our agenda for digitalization. It raises the issues of how we can modernize the residential systems to cope with the increasing demand for tertiary education, and how digitalization can be deployed to eliminate congestion, security breaches, and unauthorized entries to university campuses, and halls of residence.”

He then charged University of Ghana and other various institutions of learning to digitalize access to the facilities on their campuses, to curtail crimes, and guard the integrity of their examinations.

“Today, campuses throughout the world  cannot be simple thorough fenced, where students freely mix with unauthorized intruders on campus, who may be there to perpetrate crimes and offences wrongly attributed to students. John Mensah Sarbah simply says, University of Ghana, think and look ahead, and digitalize access to classrooms, labs, halls of residence, and hostels. What of academic fraud, and the shameful leakage of exam papers at various levels. John Mensah Sarbah says,  think and look ahead, and digitalize access to exams in the university facilities,” he said.


Story by Sammy Danso Eghan |

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