The Federation of University Teacher’s Associations (FUTA) strongly condemns the unjust and arbitrary attempts by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to take over the 2.5 acres of land which has been used by the University of Colombo (UoC) for a long time. This land houses a hostel building which accommodates 550 female students from various faculties of the UoC.
The academic activities of the UoC are being carried out with very limited hostel facilities in the face of the increasing number of new students enrolled annually. Further, there is an ever-growing demand for hostel facilities from the UOC student population who are facing severe problems due to lack of university accommodation. This necessitates the need for the hostel facilities at Muttiah Road to be further developed, rather than acquired or encroached, as it is a hostel within close proximity to the UoC, and is the only hostel of the UoC which has facilities to accommodate differently abled students.
Various stakeholders, including the UoC administration, teachers’ unions, student unions and alumni have in writing informed their objection and opposition towards this most recent attempt of the UDA, to the relevant parties and state authorities. Despite this, we see that they are not ready to pay heed to this opposition. In a time where we are posed with health challenges associated with COVID 19, and at a time where no students, faculty and other relevant stakeholders are physically present in the university premises, these actions in spite of legitimate objections will only create further complications.
Similarly, it has come to our notice that the State Ministry of Skills Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovations is in an attempt to acquire land of the UoC around the Planetarium on Baudhaloka Mawatha Colombo 07.
We would like to emphasize that the entire state university system will unhesitatingly intervene to defeat all unjust attempts to encroach on and acquire the properties of the UoC in ensuring the best interest of the State Higher Education sector, the UoC, its current and future students, and other stakeholders who will be affected by any adverse course of action by the state.
Secretary – Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA)