In response to a silent protest held on Tuesday by University of Pretoria (UP) students, the university confirmed that special arrangements had been made for students who were provisionally suspended, pending a full disciplinary investigation, to write examinations off-campus and to complete their academic year.
The suspensions relate to serious misconduct in terms of the university’s disciplinary code.
UP spokesperson Rikus Delport said most of the students made use of the opportunity, with two going on to complete their degrees and graduating.
The protesting students demanded that UP reinstate students who were suspended last year after the #FeesMustFall protests.
“The university has been involved in ongoing engagement with the individual students and their legal representatives since their suspension. Members of the university management have also met with the students and their parents in order to provide various forms of support,” he added.
Delport said the disciplinary process in respect of one student had since been concluded, while another was still under way.
“One of the students chose not to return to UP. The remainder of the students were not readmitted to their respective study programmes on account of poor academic performance,” he stated.
Students with concerns were encouraged to engage with the university through the temporary committee or the department of student affairs.
“We did not suspend any students on ‘false charges’. A number of students were arrested in 2016 for violence and damage to property, and were criminally charged by the National Prosecuting Authority.
“The decision to arrest students was made by the police and not the university. Students who were arrested were allowed to write exams on campus and complete their academic year.”
UP student activist Mathapelo Maganedisha said the protest was about raising awareness that the suspension and expulsion of students was not done according to proper procedure.