Classes were disrupted today after the fire alarm was triggered at the Barbados Community College’s Hospitality Institute at PomMarine.
The development coincided with protest action by students over the alleged ill treatment of one of their colleagues.
At the centre of the controversy is the Acting President of the Guild of Students Kobie Broomes, who is accusing a teacher at the institute of “shouting at him and disrespecting him” after the guild was given permission in writing earlier this week to meet with students at the Hastings, Christ Church campus to discuss matters of concern to them, ahead of next week’s Guild elections.
Based on accounts from several students, Broomes had gone over to the teacher to apologize after the 12 p.m. guild meeting ran over into her 1 p.m. class time.
However, her response was said to be nothing short of “obnoxious and impertinent”.
This led to formal complaints being made to the Director of the Institute Deborah Trotman and to the BCC Registrar Roger Worrell.
Barbados TODAY also obtained a copy of a letter sent to the Acting BCC Principal Dr Cheryl Weekes in which the guild condemned in the strongest possible terms what it described as “the gross disrespect” meted out to the acting president.
“We expect that the office of the guild [be] treated with utmost respect by the administration of the college. To this extent, we first demand a written apology from the Director of the Hospitality Institute for questioning the rectitude of the President,” the letter said in response to suggestions that the guild was engaging in a “power play” and that students had deliberately set off the fire alarm, forcing the disruption which lasted for about half an hour before classes were able to resume.
The guild also described the attitude of the tutor at the centre of the incident as “obnoxious and impertinent”, while suggesting that she had also tried to bar students from attending her class following today’s guild meeting.
“Her attempt to grandstand before an audience of students to diminish the mandate of the [acting] president and his council will not be tolerated. To this extent, we also demand a written apology to both the [acting] president and to the students present for the uncouth behaviour exhibited,” the letter adds.
The two-page document also outlines the concerns of students at the PomMarine institute, including inadequate ventilation in the student’s lounge, unkempt bathroom facilities, inadequate transportation and matters relating to teacher-student relations.
The Guild is demanding a meeting no later than next Monday with the Acting Principal, Registrar and Director of the Hospitality Institute to discuss the concerns, otherwise it says there could be escalated protest action at the BCC early next week.
When contacted, Broomes would only confirm that the guild had met today with students of the Hospitality Institute, while its director said she was unaware of any disruption of classes.
“We had a fire alarm go off and the school was evacuated. Students were spoken to and they are all back in class,” she told Barbados TODAY.