Tuks social media warning an empty threat - Sanco

2016-03-03 09:22
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

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Black students were targeted - suspended TUKS students speak out

2016-02-29 13:54

Students suspended from the University of Pretoria after violent protests over Afrikaans at the institution say EFF members and black students were specifically targeted in arrests and suspensions.WATCH

Johannesburg - The University of Pretoria's warning to students that it could suspend, expel or criminally charge them for liking, retweeting, or getting tagged on social media posts it deemed hate speech was nothing but an empty threat, the South African National Civic Organisation said on Thursday.

"Until the UP management acts on racist tweets on the AfriForumJeug/Youth facebook page instead of turning a blind eye to them, the warning remains a publicity stunt," said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.

The university sent a message to students informing them of the decision, saying recent protests on campus were fuelled by commentary on social media.

"Students and staff should take note that not only posts or retweets, but also likes, tagging and retweets of posts on social media which incite violence, harm or constitute hate speech are in contravention of the university's disciplinary code: students, and South African legislation and constitute grounds for criminal and civil action," the message reads.

Mahlangu said staff and students were not shaken by the threat.

On Wednesday, some students said they were angry about the warning and would not be dictated to on how to use social media.

"They are out of order now. This is nonsense," said one student who asked not to be named.

"How can we control who tags us on Facebook? What if our accounts get hacked? This is unacceptable, they can't do that," said another student.

The university said everyone was responsible for their own social media profile.

"Please note that if you allow your name to be coupled with any 'likes', 'tags' or 'retweets' of this nature, you are equally liable and that disciplinary action and possible suspension or expulsion from the university and/or criminal or civil action may follow."

Students were personally responsible for the use of their name on social media platforms and if their handle or name was attached to certain content, they were responsible for its publication, the university said.

Meanwhile, Mahlangu accused AfriForum of consistently opposing the shaping of a democratic, multilingual language policy.

He called on the university´s management to interdict organisations that held back transformation.

Last week, Sanco laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission about what it said was hate speech on the AfriForum Jeug/Youth facebook page.

UP students had been protesting over its language policy for the past two weeks. Twenty-seven people were arrested for public violence. They appeared in court last week.

Charges against three of them were dropped, leaving 24 students to stand trial. Their case was postponed to April 7.

The university was closed for a week due to the protests.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria  |  social media  |  university protests

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