Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva-The Students Representative Council (SRC) of the University of Namibia (Unam) northern campus want the vice-chancellor (VC) to lift the suspension of three student leaders. They want the VC to immediately reinstate the three and instead suspend them from the SRC. The students – Vanessa Hifitikeko, Jeffrey Shapange and Raymond Tjiueza – have been on suspension since May and are barred from partaking in all academic activities or entering the campus. The three student leaders were suspended for attempting to force entry into a cafeteria to use it as a studying area, charging there is not enough study space at the campus. The students accused Unam of using the suspension to silence and intimidate future leaders, labelling it a political move to victimise oppressed students. “We note with disgust the University of Namibia style of singling out and suppression of student leaders. We also note the purposeful criminalisation and vilifying of student leaders particularly this year,” read a press release. They claim the university management could have found a holistic approach to remedy the situation and to attend to the need of insufficient study facilities on campus, rather than impose such harsh punishment. They further charged their colleagues were not given a warning or time to repent. However, a press release issued by the university’s public relations officer Simon Namesho at the time shows the students were given two days to inform the management why they should not be barred from the campus and be suspended from the SRC, pending finalisation of the investigation into the allegation and any disciplinary actions that may be taken against them. Contacted for comment, Namesho said the reasons provided by the three students were found to have “outweighed their actions”. “This was based on the following reasons: that there is overwhelming prima facie evidence that they engaged in prohibited or unlawful conduct … which has since persisted,” said Namesho. The student leaders maintained their colleague’s intention was to demonstrate the “seriousness of the studying facility” for students on campus, and not to destroy or damage university property. “The management of the University of Namibia failed to provide sufficient student study facilities on campus and this agitated the students to put pressure on the student leaders,” read the press statement from the students.
2017-09-07 09:53:34 1 years ago