The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has imposed stiff sanctions on four students who participated in an unauthorised protest at the university’s Robin Crest residence, near the Doornfontein campus, which resulted in violence and damage to property, the UJ said on Sunday.
The four, who were part of a group of 12 students who were recently suspended from the university for a variety of serious transgressions, were slapped with expulsions following disciplinary hearings held on Friday, the university said in a statement
However, their expulsion was suspended on condition that the students were not found guilty of similar misconduct during the duration of their studies at the university, and provided that they completed 80 hours of community service by November 30.
A further condition of the suspension was that they never occupy student leadership positions at the university, including in the Student Representative Council (SRC) and house committees.
Two of the 12 students whose cases were also looked into on Friday were found not guilty, while disciplinary hearings for the remaining six would be held in due course, the university said.
Commenting on the sanctions, senior executive director in the office of the vice-chancellor Tumi Mketi said the university respected the right of students to participate in public protests, demonstrations, and meetings.
“However, this is so as long as students do so in terms of the university’s student regulations, are peaceful, and do not disrupt academic and administrative activities or place the safety of students and staff in jeopardy.
“UJ does not accept that violent protest, under any circumstance, is a valid method of engagement. There is no room whatsoever for destructive and disruptive behaviour and those engaging in such behaviour will bear the full consequence of their actions in terms of the university’s rules and laws of the country,” she said.
“We will not allow a small group to disrupt the smooth functioning of teaching and learning for the vast majority of students, and to that extent we will continue to work robustly to ensure the safety, security, and peaceful atmosphere of the university and all its stakeholders,” Mketi said.