UWI assures students after doctor’s body found in pond on campus

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

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A number of University of the West Indies (UWI) students yesterday expressed fear for their safety after the lifeless body of Dr Judith Rose-Spencer was found in a pond on the Mona campus in St Andrew.

However, The UWI, in a late-afternoon statement, assured them that there was no need to fear and that “security on the campus has been increased”.

The body of the 69-year-old doctor was seen in the pond near University Chapel approximately 7:45 am. Her head and torso were submerged, while her feet and one hand were visible.

Even though the circumstances of Dr Rose-Spencer’s death were not known, some students said they have no faith in the campus security.

“Before this we were never safe. I think campus security is incompetent; they only focus on their cellular phones and look people,” a social sciences student told the Jamaica Observer.

“Look how close the security post is,” another social science student chimed in, pointing to the entrance checkpoint about 200 metres away.

A prolonged high-pitch wail echoed across the campus as a woman identified the body as it was taken from the pond and placed in the back of a motor vehicle, owned by House of Tranquility Funeral Home, shortly before midday.

A second-year science and technology student, who did not wished to named, said she had just heard about the discovery and expressed concern that it was made close to her faculty.

“It is a spot that I used to hang out; it is a spot where I normally ate lunch. I don’t really feel safe knowing that this could have been me,” she said.

Another science and technology student, who expressed concern and declined to be identified, also questioned the effectiveness of the security post.

“I don’t feel any less unsafe but I am curious though, because I want to find out if they actually brought that body on campus,” the student said, adding that the area is poorly lit.

“If things like this can happen at The University of the West Indies, which is the number one university in the Caribbean, that should be gated to a certain extent, it is a major concern,” another student said.

The students also claimed that people have been robbed and raped on the campus.

The students also claimed that closed-circuit television cameras were only installed at some locations on the campus.

Efforts to get a response to the students’ claims from the university were futile.

Repeated calls to the campus security also went unanswered.

However, The UWI issued a statement saying that preliminary investigations into the discovery have revealed that the deceased was neither a student nor a staff member of The UWI Mona Campus.

“A preliminary assessment of the scene by members of the Technical Services Division of the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) indicates that no foul play is suspected. Further, an assessment by campus security has indicated that there is no threat to any member of the university community. Notwithstanding, the security on the campus has been increased,” The UWI said.

“The university regrets this unfortunate incident and expresses condolences to the family of the deceased,” it added.

The Observer checked the University Hospital of the West Indies, but was told that Dr Rose-Spencer was not on its list of physicians.

Meanwhile, president of the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association Elon Thompson told the Observer that he did not know Dr Rose-Spencer and that it was too early for him to comment.

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