Stand in Prayer and Not in Judgment
Students who graduate from Covenant University in Nigeria must not only fulfill the academic requirements of achieving the optimum level of the grade point average, they also need to take other tests before the university gives them their degree – HIV and pregnancy. Unlike the other tests they have to take…these are tests they need to fail, otherwise according to what I have read – they would not be allowed to graduate.
The University Mission/Vision according to their website is to be a leading world-class Christian Mission University, committed to raising a new generation of leaders in all fields of human endeavor. Their mission also includes – to create knowledge and restore dignity of the black man.
I try to align this mission and vision statement with a regulation which makes it mandatory for ALL students who are graduating from this higher institution to test negative for HIV otherwise they will not be allowed to graduate. I am guessing that because the HIV testing requirement is paired with the pregnancy test for the ladies…the university –which is a Christian university – is trying to prevent sexual promiscuity among its students.
Someone should let them know that although HIV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, there are other ways to contract the virus. There’s the example of the late Kimberly Bergalis who got the virus from her dentist. Children are born HIV-positive because their mothers have the virus. There is the much-publicized case of the newborn who received a blood transfusion at birth and because of negligence on the part of the medical staff contracted the virus from the AIDS-tainted blood. HIV can be transmitted through unsafe injections, razors – think shaving sticks and barber’s clippers and also needles for sewing weaves. That being said, so what if there is a student who is HIV-positive and who contracted the virus as a result of sexual intercourse. And so what…the university will deny this person their degree for that reason
I think the National University Commission or whatever regulatory body oversees universities in the country needs to step in and put an end to this high-handed approach which promotes the stigma of people living with HIV. In my opinion, for a university which claims to have a Christian foundation – I find this stand very un-Christianly…the Bible teaches us to stand in prayer and not in judgment and it makes little sense to me for Covenant University to take this approach with students. We are faced with a situation where a young adult attending the University (not just those who are graduating mind you, because it seems this senseless rule will be applied to everyone) who for whatever reason discovers that he or she is either pregnant or HIV-positive rather than reaching out to a guidance counselor or similar authority figure who would be able to guide them to the point where they can make an informed decision, they have to keep it under wraps and take steps which in some cases can be fatal – unsafe abortions or worse. Universities are supposed to be a haven where a young person can be nurtured and groomed to the point where they can stand on their own feet not hounded, grilled or terrorized.
A number of concerned Nigerians are planning a media address and mass protest against Covenant University’s narrow-minded rule.
Here are the details:
Date – Monday July 30, 2007
Time – 11.00am
Venue – Positive Action for Treatment Access First Floor Holy Trinity Hospital Plaza
Adesina Street, Off Obafemi Awolowo Way Ikeja, Lagos
Additional information is available here
The organizers would like to inform the public that it is not a protest against Winner’s Chapel – the Church that Covenant University is affiliated with or the Church in Nigeria as a whole.
I believe it might act as a forum for enlightening the university authorities and perhaps with a little more knowledge they can join the rest of the world as we all collectively stand in prayer and not in judgment when we think of the millions of people who are living with HIV in our world