Irate students bemoan lost time

2008-03-11 00:00

WHILE lectures at the troubled Mangosuthu University of Technology will resume next Monday, students are concerned that they will not be able to make up for lost lecture time.

The decision to re-open the university was taken after management met with the academic board to discuss the university’s closure and other issues.

Last Friday, management decided to close the university after a week-long protest by disgruntled students over the lack of proper transport, shortage of lecturers and the dismissal of Student Representative Council (SRC) members.

During the protests, 125 students were arrested by riot police and charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

Students damaged a police vehicle and blocked off the Mangosuthu highway with burning tyres and other debris.

Yesterday, students who arrived at the university were turned away by campus security. All gates were locked.

Angry students told The Witness that it was unfair for university management to close down the entire campus as students were losing out on lecture time.

“This closure is unfair on those students who did not participate in the protests. It’s going to be so difficult to register again and catch up on work,” said Sipho Zulu, an electrical engineering student.

Zulu described the closure as a “waste of precious time” and hoped that management would resolve the issues so that lectures could resume.

He also said that students who live in residences were kicked out and had to find alternative accommodation during the closure.

“We had to leave our rooms and find other places to stay. It’s inconvenient and expensive to live elsewhere,” he said.

Another student, who did not want to be named, said students were very angry about the closure.

“This whole closure is unfair on students. How will we catch up on lost time? Plus we also have to register again,” she said.

SRC president Brian Masondo said the body was excluded from a meeting held between the university’s management and the academic board.

He said students will continue to protest and even seek legal help if the university is not opened.

“We want our demands to be discussed. Until that happens, we will continue with our protests,” he said.

sharlenep@witness.co.za

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