Letter of Oromo Scholars and Professionals  to Presidents of Universities on Dismissal of Students

USA, Canada, Europe and Australia
Contact email: Gareemou@gmail.com

March 17, 2020

  1. Dr. Jamal Yousef Hassen
    Haramaya University, President
  2. Dr. Ubah Adem
    Dire Dawa University, Acting President
  3. Dr. Endegena Abebe
    Mettu University, President
  4. Dr. Abubeker Kedir
    Madda Walabu University, President
  5. Dr. Chala Wata
    Bule Hora University, President
  6. Dr. Jamal Abafita
    Jimma University, President

Dear Drs.,

We, the undersigned Oromo scholars and professionals, write this letter to you to express our concerns and disappointments with your decision to dismiss Oromo students from your respective universities. We firmly object to the dismissal of these students for expressing their views, contrary to the universal mission of academia. To this end, we are writing to plead with you to reconsider the decisions and allow the students to resume their studies. We believe that this is not just the right thing to do for the students but also a good thing to do for the universities and the country.

Students in universities and colleges in Ethiopia have a long history of active participation in the social and political discourse of the society. Students have been active voices of their people. Addis Ababa University was the home of the Ethiopian Student Movement, a struggle that gave birth to the social changes initiated in the 1970s.  Prominent Oromos partook in the movement; many of them to this day have leading roles in the Oromo as well as Ethiopian politics.  It is in our collective memory that none of the regimes has been kind to leaders of student movement in Ethiopia. However, never in Ethiopian history have we witnessed so many students from one ethnic group targeted in universities and colleges across the country as we witnessed in recent months.  This increasing disrespect for inquisitive knowledge, and animosity towards those active voices of their people, worries us greatly. We also wonder what kind of message such actions send to the other students. Per the rational that seem to have prompted you to take such drastic action, many of the signatories of this letter would have never finished their college education. The search for knowledge that makes leaders, scholars, and inventers, need not be framed by a political dogma, and when ideas are forcibly stifled, anti-knowledge doctrine prevails.

It is for this reason that we object to a politically motivated expulsion of students from Universities and colleges.  It is a shame of historic proportions that you have collectively dismissed more than 163 students since January, 2020 as listed below. The names of the 163 students dismissed since January, 2020 appear in the appendix.

  • Haramaya University (68 students)
  • Dire Dawa University (39 students)
  • Mettu University (21 students)
  • Madda Walabu University (16 students)
  • Bule Hora University (12 students)
  • Jimma University (7 students)

We cannot imagine how scholars and leaders of educational institutions act in a manner that negates the very rights of fellow citizens to education and the search for knowledge.  Universities and colleges play leading roles in producing the next generation of leaders and shaping the future of a nation. The primary responsibility of a university/college is maintaining academic integrity and creating a safe and nurturing environment for a free and spirited social, economic and political discourse. We believe that, under your leadership, the universities failed miserably on both fronts when they remained silent on a targeted expulsion of Oromo students of particular geographical origin for alleged political affiliation. Selectively targeting students of particular ethnicity, region, religion, and/or gender hits at the very heart of the integrity of your university, the leadership, and leaves a profound historic scar that takes years to heal. It is also depressing to know that these students are forced to choose between risking their lives and safety by going back to live under a brutal and repressive military command posts and homelessness.

Dear Drs.  Abubeker, Jamal, Chala, Jamal, Ubah, Endegena,

As you all may understand, these students represent the dreams of many parents, sisters, brothers, neighbors, villages, and Oromia. Just as your parents and our parents did, the families of these students put everything they have into their children’s education with the hope that one day they will complete their education and give them a better life. Today, your unjust actions left these families to wonder the whereabouts and safety of their children. Standing for these students is standing for truth, for academic mission, and ultimately for the country. It is a responsibility of every scholar. It is on these premises that we ask you, as heads of these universities, to call the students back and allow them to safely pursue their academic dreams.

Respectfully, (signatories listed in alphabetical order)

  1. Adugna Birhanu (Ph.D)
  2. Alemayehu Biru (Ph.D)
  3. Amanuel Gobena (Ph.D)
  4. Asefa Jalata (Ph.D)
  5. Asfaw Beyene (Ph.D)
  6. Ayana Gobena (Ph.D)
  7. Bahiru Duguma (Ph.D)
  8. Baro Deressa (MD)
  9. Bedassa Tadesse (Ph.D)
  10. Begna Dugassa (Ph.D)
  11. Bekele Temesgen (Ph.D)
  12. Benti Getahun (Ph.D)
  13. Berhanu Kedida (MD)
  14. Bersisa Berri (Ph.D)
  15. Bichaka Fayissa (Ph.D)
  16. Daniel Ayana (Ph.D)
  17. Degefa Abdissa Ph.D)
  18. Dessalegn Negeri (Ph.D)
  19. Desta Yebassa (Ph.D)
  20. Gizachew Tesso (Ph.D)
  21. Guluma Gemeda (Ph.D)
  22. Habtalem Kenea (Ph.D)
  23. Haile Hirpa (Ph.D)
  24. Hambisa Belina (Ph.D)
  25. Ibrahim Elemo (Ph.D)
  26. Iddoosaa Ejeta (Ph.D)
  27. Ismael Abdullahi (Ph.D)
  28. Jamal Ebrahim (MD)
  29. Jemal Hebano (PharmD)
  30. Jenberu Feyisa (Ph.D)
  31. Junaidi Ahmed (MD)
  32. Koste Abdissa (Ph.D)
  33. Mekbib Gebeyehu (Ph.D)
  34. Mekuria Bulcha (Ph.D)
  35. Moa Apagodu (Ph.D)
  36. Mohammed Hassan (Ph.D)
  37. Mosisa Aga (Ph.D)
  38. Namara Garbaba (Ph.D)
  39. Oli Bachie (Ph.D)
  40. Rundassa Eshete (Ph.D)
  41. Samuel Geleta (Ph.D)
  42. Solomon Geleta (Ph.D)
  43. Teferi Margo (Ph.D)
  44. Tekleab Shibru (Ph.D)
  45. Tesfaye Negeri (Ph.D)
  46. Tesfaye Tesso (Ph.D)
  47. Thomas Baisa (MD)
  48. Tolawak Beyene (MD)
  49. Workineh Torben (Ph.D)
  50. Worku Burayu (Ph.D)

Appendix

Oromo students expelled from universities in Ethiopia since January 1, 2020.

Haramaya University (68 students)

  1. Asheetuu Mammoo
  2. Abdii Baqqalaa
  3. Obsumaan Andargee
  4. Ayyaana Abaata
  5. Yaadata Asaffaa
  6. Gammachuu Raggaasaa
  7. Boonaa Faantahuun
  8. Lalisaa Darajjee
  9. Amaanuel Solomon
  10. Yaadasaa Kinfuu
  11. Lateera Daggafaa
  12. Gammachis Waaqgarii
  13. Sanbatoo Adimaasu
  14. Beekuma Bulchaa
  15. Roobera Warquu
  16. Tilahuun Taafasa
  17. Alaamuddiin Yuusuuf
  18. Yoosef Tasfayee
  19. Naatina’eel Solomon
  20. Mikaa’el Geetachoo
  21. Buzaayyoo Faradaa
  22. Dassatu Efireem
  23. Badhanee Guja
  24. Jireenya Jabeessa
  25. Gaddisaa Fayyoo
  26. Lalisaa Waltajjii
  27. Ilfinash Dhibbisa
  28. Gammadaa Dhuguma
  29. Zawudee Buloo
  30. Kadiroo Daddafoo
  31. Daawit Baqqalaa
  32. Guutama Abiriham
  33. Gammachis Kabato
  34. Magarsaa Tasfayee
  35. Dirribaa Iddosaa
  36. Yoosef Gurmuu
  37. Mokonnoon Bifa
  38. Sisaay Nigaatuu
  39. Magarsaa Waaqjiraa
  40. Roobaa Margaa
  41. Abbabaa Kennesaa
  42. Eliyaas Ittansaa
  43. Muzaayan Amen
  44. Sanyii Olii
  45. Abiriham Imaanu
  46. Boonsaa Habtee
  47. Ifaa Tasfayee
  48. Atsadee Waaqggarii
  49. Guddataa Waaqgarii
  50. Surraa Alamu
  51. Amaanu’eel Asaffa
  52. Eebisee Tasfayee
  53. Caaltuu Sobboqaa
  54. Qabbanee Marqos
  55. Biiftuu Saamu’eel
  56. Hawwii Taaffasee
  57. Araggash Lamata
  58. Boontuu Mohammad
  59. Boontuu Gabbisaa
  60. Amanee Takilee
  61. Jireenyaa Taaddasee
  62. Mulgeetaa Mammoo
  63. Margaa Tolasaa
  64. Xibabuu Solomon
  65. Masarat Birratuu
  66. Buzu
  67. Abduljabar Shaambal
  68. Gaaddisaa Ittafaa

Dire Dawa University (39 students)

  1. Addunyaa Ayyalaa
  2. Guutaa Taammiruu
  3. Mikaa’el Asfawuu
  4. Mohammed Saayid
  5. Haayiluu Geetachoo
  6. Leenco Huseen
  7. Nuuraddiin Mohammad
  8. Waaqoo Huukaa
  9. Dooyoo Waariyoo
  10. Guddinaa Kamal
  11. Leenco Abdallaa
  12. Mohammad Saayid
  13. Nagaasaa Taammiruu
  14. Ifaa Tsaggayee
  15. Naatina’eel Dhiinsaa
  16. Biqilaa Raggasaa
  17. Naatifeera Margaa
  18. Qaasim Huseen
  19. Jaafar Huseen
  20. Eebbaa Gaashawuu
  21. Jibiril Ahimad
  22. Yoonas Huseen
  23. Yoonattan Taaddasee
  24. Guddataa Waaqtolaa
  25. Naasru Shaame
  26. Lataa Waaggarii
  27. Jireenyaa Geetachoo
  28. Addunyaa Duubee
  29. Caalaa Dheeroo
  30. Alamayyoo Efireem
  31. Keeraddin Duulaa
  32. Turaa Tufaa
  33. Awwal Amaddiin
  34. Abdiisaa Aanoolee
  35. Tasfaa Caalaa
  36. Surraa Kuffisaa
  37. Duroomsa Ziyaad
  38. Yaadataa Olaana
  39. Galataa Baqqalaa

Mettu University (21 students)

  1. Boonsaa Kumarra
  2. Anasoo Ahimad
  3. Eebbaa Addaamuu
  4. Lalisaa Amanuu
  5. Naa’ol Adaanee
  6. Injifannoo Darajjee
  7. Tokkummaa Bojaa
  8. Keeriya Kadir
  9. Magarsaa Gammachuu
  10. Daani’eel Dassaaleny
  11. Abdii Mangashaa
  12. Naasiraddiin Isiyaaq
  13. Lalisaa Gurmeessaa
  14. Mallas Guutaa
  15. Dhukalee Areerii
  16. Umar Indiris
  17. Tolasaa Girmaa
  18. Jireenyaa Tasfayee
  19. Toolimaa Awaal
  20. Daani’eel Abdataa
  21. Zaaman Taajuu

Madda Walabu University (16 students)

  1. Ibsaa Tooboo
  2. Gaaddisaa Hooxxessaa
  3. Dhaabaa Asfawuu
  4. Tashoomaa Guuttataa
  5. Efireem Guuttataa
  6. Toolinaa Moosisaa
  7. Galataa Dhaabasa
  8. Mulgeetaa Raggaasaa
  9. Eebbisaa Nigaatuu
  10. Abdii Fiqaaduu
  11. Ermiyaas Biraanuu
  12. Fayisaa Girmaa
  13. Qanaa’aa Taaffasaa
  14. Waajjiraa Alaamayyoo
  15. Daani’eel Mookonnoon
  16. Hambisaa Tamasgeen

Bule Hora University (12 students)

  1. Addunyaa Moosisaa
  2. Eliyaas Laggesee
  3. Bareecha Guddataa
  4. Ittinaa Waaqjiraa
  5. Ifaa Makuraa
  6. Qannoo Indaaluu
  7. Galmaa Bariisoo
  8. Darajjee Raggaasaa
  9. Hayilee Kumsaa
  10. Mootummaa Takilee
  11. Abebe Kaasayee
  12. Abdiisa Danboobii

Jimma University (7 students)

  1. Hirphaa Taaddalaa
  2. Ibsaa Dassaalee
  3. Abdiisaa Qajeelaa
  4. Ibsaa Raggasaa
  5. Tolasaa Ittanaa
  6. Gammachuu Dhaabaa
  7. Itaana Kabbadaa

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