Marks: lecturer joins fray

2019-10-30 16:20
The UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus has come under criminal attack, with as many as 16 reported robberies and muggings taking place since the beginning of the year.PHOTO: supplied

The UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus has come under criminal attack, with as many as 16 reported robberies and muggings taking place since the beginning of the year.PHOTO: supplied

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Former UKZN lecturer Darryl David has joined the fray in a dispute between the university and a student who is suing over having failed an exam.

David has also for the first time spoken out about his bitter departure from the university, saying he fell out with his superiors, whom he accuses of failing to discipline errant colleagues.

He has accused university management of failing to act on colleagues who had caused marks for the English 1 course this year to be unable to be released for the “first time” in his 25 years at the university.

This debacle was reported in The Witness earlier this year, and UKZN is investigating the matter.

David has spoken about his resignation, which he tendered earlier this year, after feeling compelled to reply to an article published in The Witness on Tuesday about a court case into which his name has been dragged.

The case involves a student, Lephetha Japi, who has taken UKZN to court to get the university to produce the original question paper of a supplementary exam which he had failed. Japi alleged that the pages of the question paper, set by David, were “disorderly”, which caused him to not be able to finish the exam in the allotted three hours.

UKZN said in its response the exam paper could not be found because David had failed to file it in university records.

David, who is also the organiser of literary festivals around the country, is not party to the case and is not listed as a respondent, and his version of events is not part of the court record.

David told The Witness yesterday that he had left because a colleague had missed “over half his lectures” and his superiors did nothing.

“For the first time in my 25-year tenure at UKZN we were unable to release exam results. And yet … all those in power waited. I stood up to [them and said] either you choose me and what is right, or you condone what is wrong.”

He said he was sent a “one-liner” e-mail response asking the HR department to send David the resignation form. He said he called the university’s bluff and resigned. He now works at the University of the Western Cape.

“I would like to think that I was a good servant and ambassador for UKZN. Ultimately, in the UKZN of today, the politics of race trumps these qualities.”

Regarding Japi’s case, David said: “It is with a clear conscience I vouch that there was nothing wrong with the exam paper.

“He failed fair and square. But that is a matter for the courts to decide.”

He questioned why Japi only brought the issue of the disorderly question paper to the university’s attention long after it was written.

“Moreover the poetry annexure was taken directly from the normal supplementary exam. No students complained of any disorderly annexures for the normal supplementary.”

David rejected UKZN’s version of events before the court, taking issue with part of an affidavit by Adarsh Maharaj, a member of staff investigating Japi’s claims, who said the university had difficulty contacting David about the allegations.

He said he had corresponded with Maharaj via e-mail on August 26 about the same incident, when he asked David where the question paper was.

“I immediately responded to him over two e-mails informing him that the scripts would be in my old office or with the secretary.”

He rejected claims Maharaj made that David did not follow proper protocols when filing the exam paper, saying that he had permission to run the exam within his own department.

David believed that Maharaj’s claims, that he refused to co-operate in resolving the matter and alluding to the fact that David had left UKZN on a sour note, made it appear as if David left “under a cloud because of this matter”.

“This is totally untrue,” he said.

UKZN said David resigned for personal reasons, and declined to answer questions about possible discontent among staff that led to David leaving. “However, we can assure you of our position on dealing with matters of staff conflict in a fair and appropriate manner. Strict protocols and procedures are followed and conflict resolution measures effected where necessary.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ukzn

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