Monday, September 7, 2009


The organisers of the parties and socials which were scheduled for this week on the University of the West Indies' Mona campus, but were banned because of a swine flu outbreak there, are concerned about the financial losses that could result.

The new semester, which is usually welcomed with parties, socials and fêtes, may not get off to its usual vibrant start this year following a decision made by the university's administration to suspend all social gatherings on the campus. Classes, however, will still be held.

The university issued a statement on Saturday advising that three persons on the campus tested positive for the H1N1 virus and there were about 60 others exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The university said the Ministry of Health did not recommend a ban on classes, but out of caution, officials there have decided to prohibit large social gatherings.

This decision, however, has not gone down well with some students who do not understand why only parties and not classes have been banned. Organisers of the events are now burdened with the task of deciding whether to postpone or cancel and which is wiser financially.

financially viable

Ibrahim Konteh, the university's cultural and entertainment affairs chairman, told THE STAR that for now, the events are postponed until a meeting is held to decide if it is financially viable to host them at another time. He said, "As far as events, they are postponed until we can meet to see which is better financially ... cancel or postpone. Freshers Dinner which was set for yesterday [Saturday] has been cancelled, as well as the Freshers Lyme, but we have other events that were set for this week, but the ban is up until Sunday, so it looks as though those may have to be cancelled as well."

He said promoters of the Chancellor Hall fete, Ruption, would be especially hard-hit if the event could not take place as a lot was spent promoting it. "It was very successful last year, so they spent a lot again this year, especially on promotion, doing flyers, posters, T-shirts and so on. A lot of effort was also put into getting the required permits, so this would come as a big blow to them."

Konteh said many on campus were questioning why classes were not banned as well, since the threat is so great that public gatherings were prohibited.

Source: Jamaica Star

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