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Mzuzu University suspends 14 over protests

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Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has suspended 14 students for allegedly being ring leaders during protests that took place on October 28.

Students at the institution ran riot last week in protest of the university’s decision to proceed with administration of supplementary examinations when some of the students are yet to access examination results.

The university has brought into effect a policy that demands students to settle fees balance before accessing examination results as well as that they should pay half of registration fees before being registered.

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During the protests, some of the students are said to have harassed members of staff who have since threatened to boycott teaching unless the students are disciplined.

The students are expected to appear for disciplinary hearing soon.

In a memo issued on November 2 2019 and signed by the university’s Registrar, Yonamu Ngwira, the 14 students have been disciplined in order to bring order at the campus.

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“The decision for the suspension, pending hearing, has been necessitated by the need to restore order and assure safety and security, following the illegal violent protests in which the suspended students are alleged to have played a role.

“There also alleged to have been continued threats to ‘deal with’ individual staff members and petrol-bomb others despite the fact that a staff member was already injured by students who stoned him in the head,” the memo reads.

The suspended students, 13 males and one female, will be called for disciplinary hearing within 21 days from November 2 2019.

They have, so far, been prohibited from entry into the campus and are no longer allowed to participate in university activities and functions.

When contacted, Ngwira was not clear if the decision to suspend the 14 students will lead to resumption of classes.

“Yes, they have been suspended pending disciplinary hearing. Management continues to engage with staff unions on the way forward,” Ngwira said.

Mzuni Academic Staff Union and Mzuni Non- Academic Staff Union have placed their feet down to have the institution closed temporarily alleging that the working environment is no longer safe.

Meanwhile, Mzuni Students Representative Council president, Louis Kapesa, issued an apology on behalf of the students for what he termed “regrettable action” by fellow students.

“We apologise to members of staff for what happened that the students harassed them by pelting stones, among others. So, as students, we apologise and we want all members of staff to understand that this impasse is affecting us the students because we are not learning. We want to assure members of staff that this will never happen again,” he said.

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