AAU slams association of the blind over tarnished reputation
Addis Ababa University (AAU) threatened to sue the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, accusing it of damaging its reputation over the death of a blind undergrad law student, who committed suicide after missing the national exit exam.
The University expressed its disappointment over the announcement made by the association that blamed it for the suicide acts of the student - Abraham Duressa.
“We need the association to publicly refute its statement of defamation as it has damaged the good image of our University,” said Tassew Woldehanna, President of the University.
According to Tassew, following the misleading statement made by the Association, a negative label has been wrongly put on the university.
“We feel sorry for the death of the student, but it is hard to build our image again since the announcement went viral and we are receiving dozens of complaints from the public, misled by the Association’s statement,” said the President.
Abraham, a student of Dila University, was amongst students that sat for the exam last month at AAU, just a month before their graduation. Although Abraham sat for the exam held from December 22 to December 24 at AAU, he was not able to make it on time on December 25 after his efforts to recollect the exam codes he forgot allegedly left him 45 minutes late.
The coordinator of the exam allegedly told him to return home, leaving him with a disgruntled feeling that later put him up to set himself on fire and finally led to his death, according to Dilamo Otero (PhD), Director of the National Examination Agency. It was then that the Association released the statement criticizing the University, asserting the coordinators should have given him a chance to take the exam.
“Our university is not responsible for the student’s death. It should be understood that our responsibility was just to provide exam rooms based on the request of the agency,” Tassew said.
In response, President of the National Association of the Blind, Wossen Alemu lambasted the university, saying it prioritized its reputation, instead of denouncing the unfortunate death of the student and take corrective measures.
“I was a student of the AAU and its reputation towards disabled people is very bad. We know how the university treats blind students,” said Wossen, calling for further investigation into the incident that led to the suicide.