Stellenbosch suspends 11 students

2016-09-22 19:24
Stellenbosch University during fees announcement (Jenni Evans, News24)

Stellenbosch University during fees announcement (Jenni Evans, News24)

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WATCH: Student has seizure during #Occupy4FreeEducation protest

2016-09-21 13:28

Fresh footage has emerged of last week's #Occupy4FreeEducation protests at Stellenbosch University, where students were forcibly removed from the JS Gericke Library by private security. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town – Eleven University of Stellenbosch students have been suspended pending the outcome of disciplinary processes, the institution said on Thursday.

Rector and Vice-Chancellor Wim de Villiers said students and staff had a right to protest peacefully. However, the occupation of buildings, interruption of classes, tests and study sessions, threats, verbal abuse and physical assaults, were unacceptable.

Suspended students were not allowed to enter university property for the duration of their suspension, de Villiers said in a statement.

They could appeal their suspensions, which the university’s central disciplinary committee would consider.

De Villiers said it was vital for academic work to continue unhindered.

“We have not lost sight of how important it is for the university to continue delivering well-qualified graduates, producing new knowledge and making a positive impact on society,” he said.

Final examinations for the year would be written soon and the university was trying to ensure that students completed their courses successfully.

Students had been protesting since Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced on Monday that universities could decide on their own fee increases, but that these had to be capped at 8%. Government would subsidise the poor and "missing middle".

At Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, operations would resume on Friday.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Sibongile Muthwa said the university had a positive track record of addressing student funding problems.

“NMMU council took a bold and morally ethical decision to offer 2015 debt and 2016 down payment relief to academically deserving students who formed part of the 'missing middle',” Muthwa said.

Muthwa urged students to work together to ensure university operations resumed.

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