Application of Public Relations Techniques in the Management of Student Unrest in Rivers State University
Objective of the study
The objectives of the study are;
- To examine the current challenges and causes of student unrest in Rivers State University (RSU) and understand the specific issues that contribute to the unrest.
- To explore the role of public relations techniques in effectively managing student unrest and mitigating conflicts within RSU.
- To assess the existing communication and engagement strategies employed by the university administration during periods of student unrest and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
- To identify and analyze best practices and successful case studies from other universities or educational institutions that have effectively utilized public relations techniques to manage student unrest.
REVIEWED OF RELATED LITERATURE
Frustration-aggression in conflictual situations. Frustration hypothesis is a theory of aggression proposed by John Dollard and updated by Miller et al in 1939, Roger et al in 1941 and Leonard Berkowitz in 1969 and Friedman and Schustack in 1999.The 16 theory says that aggression is the result of blocking, or frustrating person’s effort to attain a goal. It is also known as the Frustration- aggression or Displacement Theory. The theory attempts to explain why people scapegoat. It attempts to give explanation as the cause of violence. Frustration causes aggression but when the source of aggression cannot be challenged, the aggression gets displaced onto an innocent target. For instance, if a man is disrespected and humiliated at his work, but cannot respond to this for fear or losing his job, he may go home and take his anger and frustration out on his family. This theory is also used to explain riots and revolutions. Both are caused by poorer and more deprived section of society who may express bottled up frustration and anger through violence. Is a condition which exists when a goal responce suffers interference, while aggression is defined as an act whose goal response is injury to an organism. However, aggression is not always the response to frustration. Rather a substitute response displayed when aggressive response is not the strongest on the hierarchy. Furthermore, this theory raises the question if aggression is innate problem. There is little empirical backing for it. It suggests that this frustrated, prejudiced individuals should act more aggressively towards outgroups they are prejudiced against, but studies have shown that they are more aggressive towards everyone. The theory has limitations for example it cannot say why some outgroups are chosen to be scapegoats and why others are not.
Nature, Causes and Control of Aggresssion
According to Baron and Byrne (1997), there are five theories which explain nature and causes of human aggression as analysed by Mkumbo (2002). These are Instinctual Theories,Biological Theories, Drive Theories, Social Learning Theory and Cognitive Theory. a. Instinctual: The theory believes that people act the way they do because it is their nature to behave that way. The pressure burns inside a person untill it finds an outlet to another creature of the same specie. The theory supports Darwinist Theory of Survival of the Fittest where one organism wants to maximise pleasure and minimise pain in expense of others sufferings. This tendency can take place in human being who oppose one another sometimes violently. The weaker ones will lose while the stonger ones will survive. b. Biological: This refers to the characteristics of the brain and central nervous system especially the endocrine system are designed to lead to aggressive behaviour in response to special stimuli. So biological position plays an important role in explaining the nature of human being to act aggressively. Scientist disagree that this tendency is not innate but the interaction between their genetics (nature) and environment (nurture) may cause such behaviour. c. Drive Theories of Aggression: This is a situation whereby aggression is caused by external conditions as frustrations related to some attainment of goals, arouse a strong motive to harm. Myers (1990) called it frustration aggression axis, which aims to harm others or objects primarily perceived cause of frustration. 18 d. The Social Learning theory:The theory insists that aggression is learnt as other complex social behaviours from direct or observing others (Baron and Bryn 1997). So people learn which persons or group are appropriate targets for aggression, what actions by others, either justify or require aggressive retaliation and what situation or contents are the ones in which aggression is appropriate or inappropriate. So is an experience in the current reinforcement. e. Cognitive Aspect: This deals with behaviour interplay between current moods and experience. In this case people decide to act aggressively such as going to war, beating groups of people or killing others in order to steal their properties or doing harms to others (Baron and Bryne, 1997)
Theories of Causes of Students ‘Unrest in Educational Setting
There are many theories of explaining the causes and management of students’ unrests. Many researchers have come out with a good number of these conflict theories. For instance Swindle (1976), Rahim (1980), Benyon and Solomon (1987), Cronk (1987), Festinger (1957), Ehiametalor (1979) and Banning (1978). Some of the theories for the causes of students’ unrest are Cognitive Dissonance, Relative Deprivation, and Campus Ecology. Others are; the Structural Theory, Deprivation Frustration Theory, the Human Needs Theory, the Medical and Friction Theory, the Conspiracy Theory, the Social Identity theory, and the Riff Raft Theory.
In this chapter, we described the research procedure for this study. A research methodology is a research process adopted or employed to systematically and scientifically present the results of a study to the research audience viz. a vis, the study beneficiaries.
Research designs are perceived to be an overall strategy adopted by the researcher whereby different components of the study are integrated in a logical manner to effectively address a research problem. In this study, the researcher employed the survey research design. This is due to the nature of the study whereby the opinion and views of people are sampled. According to Singleton & Straits, (2009), Survey research can use quantitative research strategies (e.g., using questionnaires with numerically rated items), qualitative research strategies (e.g., using open-ended questions), or both strategies (i.e., mixed methods). As it is often used to describe and explore human behaviour, surveys are therefore frequently used in social and psychological research.
POPULATION OF THE STUDY
According to Udoyen (2019), a study population is a group of elements or individuals as the case may be, who share similar characteristics. These similar features can include location, gender, age, sex or specific interest. The emphasis on study population is that it constitutes of individuals or elements that are homogeneous in description.
This study was carried to examine Application of Public Relations Techniques in the Management of Student Unrest. Rivers State University forms the population of the study.
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the analysis of data derived through the questionnaire and key informant interview administered on the respondents in the study area. The analysis and interpretation were derived from the findings of the study. The data analysis depicts the simple frequency and percentage of the respondents as well as interpretation of the information gathered. A total of eighty (80) questionnaires were administered to respondents of which only seventy-seven (77) were returned and validated. This was due to irregular, incomplete and inappropriate responses to some questionnaire. For this study a total of 77 was validated for the analysis.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain application of Public Relations Techniques in the Management of Student Unrest In Rivers State University. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of Application of Public Relations Techniques in the Management of Student Unrest In Rivers State University
This study was on application of Public Relations Techniques in the Management of Student Unrest in Rivers State University. Four objectives were raised which included: To examine the current challenges and causes of student unrest in Rivers State University (RSU) and understand the specific issues that contribute to the unrest, to explore the role of public relations techniques in effectively managing student unrest and mitigating conflicts within RSU, to assess the existing communication and engagement strategies employed by the university administration during periods of student unrest and identify their strengths and weaknesses and to identify and analyze best practices and successful case studies from other universities or educational institutions that have effectively utilized public relations techniques to manage student unrest. A total of 77 responses were received and validated from the enrolled participants where all respondents were drawn from Rivers State University. Hypothesis was tested sing Chi-Square statistical tool (SPSS).
In conclusion, the utilization of public relations techniques has been instrumental in mitigating student unrest in Rivers State University. Through effective communication, reputation management, and dialogue facilitation, these techniques have helped in addressing grievances, maintaining peace, and nurturing a positive environment for both students and the university administration. Moving forward, it is imperative to continue utilizing these strategies and adapting them to the evolving needs and dynamics of the student population to ensure a harmonious and conducive learning environment.
Based on the study conducted on the application of public relations techniques in the management of student unrest in Rivers State University, the following recommendations can be made:
- Develop a comprehensive and proactive public relations strategy: The university should establish a well-defined public relations strategy that encompasses effective communication channels, crisis management protocols, and engagement initiatives. This strategy should be implemented consistently and reviewed periodically to ensure its relevance and effectiveness.
- Enhance transparency and accessibility: The university administration should strive to maintain transparency in its decision-making processes and ensure that information is easily accessible to the student body. Regular updates, newsletters, and town hall meetings can be employed to keep students informed about university policies, initiatives, and decisions.
- Strengthen student involvement and representation: It is crucial to provide students with opportunities to participate in decision-making processes. Establishing student-led committees or forums where their voices can be heard and considered can foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among the student community.
- Establish effective conflict resolution mechanisms: The university should implement structured and efficient conflict resolution mechanisms that promote dialogue and understanding between the administration and students. This can include the formation of mediation teams or the appointment of trained personnel who can facilitate negotiations and help find mutually beneficial solutions.
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