upaya mengingat kepentingan hajat hidup Masyarakat

Elite college, broken dreams and bones

The Straits Times
Sept 26, 2003 Fri

Elite college, broken dreams and bones
— Students tell of bashings by seniors at Java institute
By Devi Asmarani

Jakarta – The students came to this elite public administration college with high hopes.

On graduation, they are guaranteed a much sought-after career in the civil service with good promotion prospects, decent salaries and respectable posts.

Instead of these and a diploma, a significant number of them left the Institute of Public Administration (STPDN) with broken ribs, concussion and missing teeth, and in a severely traumatised state.

Now, after months or even years of silence for fear of retaliation, these victims are slowly coming out of the woodwork.

Over the past few days, they have been relating shocking tales of the unbridled violence that has been taking place on the campus in Sumedang, West Java.

The college, which produces junior-level civil servants, has been at the centre of a controversy following the death of freshman Wahyu Hidayat, who was beaten to death by his seniors as part of an initiation rite.

Subsequent reports of deaths of two other students and severe injuries suffered by dozens of others at the hands of their seniors have shocked and angered the public.

The emotions of the people were exacerbated by private TV station SCTV’s airing of a video which showed students beating up their juniors.

Violence is a trademark of the school, which adopts a military-style leadership training system.

First- and second-year students are literally ‘punching bags’ for the seniors. Those who survive the system to see third year would by that time have become angry, violent youths waiting to thrash new students for a change.

Some former students said the first year was so ‘hellish’ that they quit the school for fear of ending up dead.

Mr Dody Rusdiansyah from Palu, Central Sulawesi, was one.

He fled the school in April, without shoes and in severe pain caused by the broken ribs he suffered from beatings.

Previously a bright, studious, respectful young man, he has become very edgy and temperamental.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the college, has set up an ethics commission to review the moral standing of STPDN’s personnel and to identify problems among the students and lecturers.

It has also decided to speed up its plan to merge the college with its counterpart in Jakarta to reform the school system.



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