Fewer than 10 out of more than 350 nursing students at the University of Fort Hare brought their parents to the university after they were kicked out of varsity for protesting.
The nursing department faces permanent closure for this academic year as the university’s management said no student would be allowed back to class unless they brought their parents or guardians this week.
Late last month, university vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu issued a notice closing the department of nursing sciences with immediate effect.
The notice further instructed nursing science students to stay away from the East London campus until August 30.
They were to report to the advancement offices before they would be allowed to continue their studies.
“Students who fail to return on this day and who fail to report to the university offices in Commissioner Street, will not be allowed to continue with their studies in 2017,” it said.
The university also obtained a court order interdicting SRC members, union Denosa, the student’s nursing council and 13 students.
The respondents are ordered not to intimidate, harass, threaten, injure or harm any staff, security personnel or any other employee of the university.
The university closed for the third quarter of the year late last month. Academic programmes were already disrupted as all the students embarked on a stay-away.
SRC president Mosuli Cwele said it was going to be impossible for the students to bring their parents.
“Instead of dealing with the matter they decided to be arrogant and close the department,” Cwele said.
He said they were still going to meet with the management in an attempt to resolve the matter.
Three student organisations at the campus – ANCYL, the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) and EFF Students Command (EFFSC) – have since pledged their support for the nursing students.
Pasma issued a statement saying it was “wants to clearly outline that it is in full support of nursing students and we are actually proud of them, as they portrayed courage to voice their grievances when material conditions and circumstances for learning were not conducive”.
In a meeting between the SRC, political organisations and nursing students that was held last week, it was agreed that no student should bring their parents.
It is yet not clear what will happen when the rest of the students return to the campus this week.
The impasse comes just two months before students sit for the final examination.
University spokesman Khotso Moabi was not available for comment at the time of writing. — firstname.lastname@example.org