This study examines the nature of interethnic relations among students of Jimma University, Oromiya state, Ethiopia. It finds that the interethnic relation portrays both tension and agreement. More or less the relationships among students take ethnic lines. That is the relations are guided by nationalism and ´´Ethiopian Identity´. These two notions are a detour between students who strongly believe in a system that practically celebrates diversity based on equality and those who firmly advocate a centripetal identity, like one lingua franca, that unites all nations in Ethiopia. Similarly, interethnic relations among students are a reflection of the existing political system. It is where students of a certain ethnic group who are thought as not outspoken supporter of current political regime encounter negative relations from their counterparts. The negative relation often leads to dispute and corresponds with the university’s administrative allegation starting from academic dismissal, imprisonment and parole. Because the administrative measures are neither lawful nor explicit, the disagreement between plaintiffs and defendants would encourage retaliation. Furthermore, the university's weakness for giving equal opportunities to all ethnic groups to promote their socio-cultural and political capitals is the source of contest. To this end, the study ostensibly concluded that, in the current students’ relations, it is hardly possible to dictate who relates to whom. Apparently, mistrust, tension and disagreement is a common feature of ethnic group relations. Thus, it begs for a sincere and audacious policy measures that promote harmonious relations between students of different ethnic groups based on freedom and equality. This makes the university an organization where specific goals are attained based on its own rules and regulations.
Key words: Interethnic relation, student, university.
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