CPUT students challenge suspensions in court

Application brought to change interdict against them

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Photo of CPUT students outside High Court.
#FeesMustFall students being addressed by Ayanda Mdanjelwa from Mate Attorneys outside the Western Cape High Court. Photo by Ashleigh Furlong.

CPUT #FeesMustFall students have applied to the Cape Town High Court for changes to an interdict granted last year which prevents some students from writing exams.

Several students were arrested and/or suspended last year following a protest action which violated a court interdict secured by the university. They have been dubbed the #CPUT78.

CPUT has been unable to confirm the exact number of suspended students. But one suspended student, who did not want to be named, said that 78 students had been suspended or prevented from participating in the university, including exams.

"We are saying that this is educational exclusion," he told GroundUp.

He said students who were expecting to be re-admitted to the university or were hoping to graduate could not, as they were unable to write exams. They had been suspended indefinitely without further communication from the university.

"There was no date [for a trial] and no trial," he said.

Another suspended student who also did not want to be named, said that he had been listed in the interdict but had not been sent any correspondence from the university telling him of his suspension.He had completed his exams before he was suspended but said he could not re-register for this year.

Ayanda Mdanjelwa from Mate Attorneys, representing the students, said they were trying to find a way for students to write exams and be re-enrolled in the university.

GroundUp was also told that students fear an "eviction" as those who are in residence for the January exams need to vacate their residences on Friday and will only be allowed to return after they register. A FeesMustFall member said many students in residence were from other provinces, making going home for a few weeks very difficult.

Earlier this week CPUT management told GroundUp that “the students were suspended as a result of their continued participation in campus protest action last year. CPUT granted more than one amnesty to protesting students on condition that university activities could continue as normal. When this did not happen students breached their agreement and were suspended”.

The university confirmed that suspended students would not be able to write exams.

The application continues tomorrow afternoon.

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TOPICS:  Tertiary Education

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