Previously suspended Wits student gets PhD

2015-09-01 11:36
Wits. (Supplied)

Wits. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - A University of the Witwatersrand post-graduate student, who was previously suspended following a scuffle two weeks ago, has achieved his PhD.

Lwazi Lushaba, who also lectures in political science and sociology at the institution, said he was "extremely excited".

"We have invested four years of serious work. It took a lot of sacrifice, discipline and thinking, so it is not something that came as a surprise," he told News24.

On Thursday, the High Court in Johannesburg set aside the decision by Wits University to suspend seven students following the fight during an SRC election debate.

Lushaba said he faced the sanction from Wits for his "ideas" and because he was present when the altercation happened.

The university had also revoked the recognition of the EFF Student Command on campus, before later reinstating it.

Disciplinary proceedings had to be instituted against the students within 10 days.

"The letter I got from the university [said]... I associated myself with certain ideas that are not acceptable to the university. These ideas are in the main identifiable with the EFF on campus," he said.

He said these ideas concerned "decolonising" the university.

"The second reason was that I was present at the hall when the altercation occurred."

He said EFF members and members of the Progressive Youth Alliance, which included the ANC Youth League and the SA Students Congress, often turned to him to resolve their problems with each other.

"I was wearing a red unbranded t-shirt, so it seemed that I was wearing EFF regalia [during the debate]."

‘Insensitive’ information

Lushaba said that if the suspension, which was open ended, had remained in force until the end of the year he would have had to register for next year and come back as a student again, for which he did not have money.

He said that if the disciplinary hearing ruled against him, the worst the university could do was say he could not graduate, despite achieving his PhD.

Lushaba said his critique of the university had to do with having to teach other students "insensitive" information, as part of the official curriculum.

"I teach a second year course, and I am expected to teach white scholars' justification of apartheid... and that it was democratic and constitutional."

He said this was insensitive to those people on the receiving end of apartheid.

"If the whites were excluded now, like how apartheid excluded others, would they say that the current government was democratic?

"Those same scholars would quickly conclude that it was not democratic."

He said that being intimately involved with issues like these had made the task of "decolonising" the institution even more of an urgent task for him.

Read more on:    eff  |  johannesburg  |  education

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