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King Abdullah addresses campus violence

Dec 13,2016 - Last updated at Dec 13,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah has always stepped in promptly to deal with any negative domestic trends that could pose a threat to social order.

Recently, the Monarch addressed the very dangerous practice of festive firing after the authorities failed to deal with the matter effectively. 

Over the years, many lives have been lost due to this unlawful practice that continued unabated and was even encouraged by the failure of successive governments to enforce the law, which strictly prohibits such unruly conduct.

It was only when the King ordered the authorities to apply the law, decisively, comprehensively and thoroughly that the ugly phenomenon disappeared.

Warning against any possible selectivity in enforcing the law, the King emphasised the principle that no one, no matter how important, is above the law, not even his own son.

Another phenomenon that has been on the rise for years is that of campus violence.

Counter-measures to combat the problem, whether by the universities in question or by government bodies, have not been effective in ending an anomaly that threatens higher education at its core.

Once again, lack of decisive disciplinary measures as well as nepotistic corruption and improper mediation that protected the perpetrators instead of holding them accountable failed to stem the trend at the expense of campus law and order.

The violent clashes that recently erupted at the University of Jordan, resulting in the interruption of daily business and police intervention, are a stern reminder that campus violence is still a pending danger. And, again, it drew Royal intervention.

In a meeting with the presidents of public universities at Al Husseiniya Palace last Sunday, the King condemned and rejected violence, affirming, once again, that nobody is above the law, not students and not university personnel.

Violence at universities must stop, the King said, adding that it is unacceptable for universities to become a hub for violence and division, extremism or alienation.

In order to prevent this from happening, King Abdullah advised cooperation among all concerned parties in order to make 2017 a new era of a positive environment within campuses by instilling the values of creativity, leadership and active citizenship.

The Royal message is loud and clear. And, obviously, it is not meant for the university administrations alone, as responsibility for any kind of campus disorder must be shared by the Jordanian community in its entirety.

Campus violence has been a serious Jordanian concern for a while.

Despite expert analysis and numerous studies, no simple answers have been produced.

More diagnosis needs to be done. 

The size of the university student population has been growing at astronomical speed. And with the openness of cyber space, and the ever-changing patterns of human activity, no amount of administrative procedures can guarantee adequate order in the absence of voluntary student compliance, and that involves the family, the clan, prior schooling and the society as a whole.

Adjustment to such a rapid change may take time, and in the meantime, consequences may be unavoidable.

And yet, one essential guarantee in addressing such complications is the strict application of the rule of law, as King Abdullah stressed in his Sixth Discussion Paper.

This principle has been emphasised again in the King’s meeting with the university presidents.

Jordanian citizens’ loyalty, said King Abdullah, is demonstrated by full abidance to the rule of law.

No society can function and no administration can succeed if its laws are not applied, if they are applied selectively or, worse, if the concerned authorities fail to enforce the law out of incompetence or indifference.

There is no question that one of the major discrepancies in our system is a deeply rooted tendency to evade the law.

The King specifically warned against those who consider themselves to be above the law. 

Reckless driving, also addressed in the Sixth Discussion Paper, which has been causing tragic deaths, is primarily the result of disrespect for the rule of law, which stems from a selfish mindset and a culture of entitlement and little social consciousness, all seen in the deadly form of texting and phoning while driving, and disregarding the traffic code, all of which leads to chaos and death.

We must put this issue at the top of all our priorities. Responsibility towards one’s fellow citizen and the rule of law is the basis for a civil society.

 

Not only will enforcing the law deal effectively with many vital problems, it will also facilitate all other efforts to handle issues vital to the country.

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