Fort Hare shuts down nursing department

In a move that could see the University of Fort Hare’s East London campus embarking on a full strike, the management has closed the department of nursing sciences immediately.

Yesterday afternoon students were meeting to discuss a way forward as several student groupings pledged their support for nursing sciences students.

The action by the students follows weeks of protests where they demanded that the acting head of department, Ntombana Rala, be removed, accusing her of giving students low marks and making their lives difficult.

The ANC Youth League on the campus issued a statement pledging their unwavering support for the nursing students.

“ANCYL will fully rally behind all nursing science students and until the management opens fair processes of engagement and agreements we will stick and remain unshaken, standing firm on not going back to classes,” read the statement in part.

On Wednesday evening, the students received a letter from the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu, informing them of the closure of the department.

In the letter, the students are instructed to stay off the East London campus.

Buhlungu said that after careful consideration of the situation, management had decided to prioritise the safety of students and staff and ensure the 2017 academic year did not suffer any further disruption.

“We will no longer allow a small group of students to impose their will through disruption, intimidation, damage to property and death threats,” he said.

Students are to return to campus on August 30 and first report to institutional advancement before they are allowed to continue with their studies.

“Students who fail to return on this day and who fail to report to university officials will not be allowed to continue with their studies in 2017.”

On their return, students are required to bring along their parents or guardians, and they will have to sign an undertaking distancing themselves from acts of violence. —

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