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Students Angry Over Lack Of Action Over Harrassment Claims

By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter cnixon@tribunemedia.net UNADDRESSED claims of sexual harassment by some campus security guards and a number of other issues had more than 100 College of the Bahamas students up in arms yesterday. COB Union of Students (COBUS) president Renbert Mortimer said students feel "frustrated and disrespected" because administrators have failed to address their concerns. The grievances include: unauthorised persons being allowed on campus, continued thefts, harassment of female students and general mistreatment of students by security personnel. Mr Mortimer said: "The students feel disrespected, like they don't matter and basically that their student rights don't exist. Yesterday's gathering came about after students were denied access to the library, where COBUS was scheduled to hold a general meeting concerning the union's leadership, Mr Mortimer said. The union members then moved their meeting to Independence Park, where the discussion turned to a number of issues concerning campus security. They were soon joined by dozens more concerned students and the group marched to VP of Students Affairs' office in the Portia Smith building. After also being barred from that building, they proceeded to the COB president's office, and she agreed to meet with the group. At 2pm, more than 100 students are said to have gathered at the Performing Arts Centre to put their concerns to COB president Dr Betsy Vogel Boze, who claimed to have no knowledge of the issues. Because students feel nothing was resolved, Mr Mortimer said the union plans to move forward with a strike vote. In meantime however, students will continue to express their grievances, he said. "We will continue to demonstrate to show the country how students are being treated in the primary institution of the Bahamas," he said. One female student said the administration needs to listen to the students and address the issues instead of making excuses. She said: "Students are the reason this institution exists, we should be treated with the utmost respect and we should not have to go through these struggles and problems to get what we need. "To encounter all of these unnecessary issues is just frustrating, and is completely digressing us from getting our degrees - which is what we are here for."

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