Tuesday, June 6, 2023

UB SRC gets reprieve from High Court

High Court judge Michael Leburu has reinstated eleven University of Botswana (UB) students who were suspended from school for 6 months. The suspension meant that the 11 Student could only join the school next year although most were doing their final year. In an interim consent order, Leburu said the students shall be entitled to return to the University, attend classes and undertake all necessary assignments, projects, tests and examinations during such period. The judge also ruled that the university must ensure that the students are not prejudiced in taking of tests and assignments. The interim order means that the students will go back pending the finalisation of the review application that will be heard by the court. According to the interim order, should the review application fail, the students shall “not be entitled to the benefit of any of the classes, written tests, assignments and examinations undertaken during their stay at school.” The suspension of the students came after the students allegedly instigated their colleagues to boycott classes in protest against the monopoly of the campus book store. The students demanded to be allowed to purchase books from any store of their choice. In his founding affidavit before the court, SRC vice president, Tiro Diepo said during the cause of enquiry held by the disciplinary inquiry, the university failed to identify classrooms, lecturers and students who were disturbed in the classrooms thus resulting in a case where there is no complainant. He also said the university appeals committee recommended suspensions from the halls of residence and sporting activities but the vice chancellor, Professor Thabo Fako disregarded the recommendations of the appeals committee and suspended them from the university. “The vice chancellor does not provide an explanation for his decision to deviate from the recommendation of the appeals committee and suspend all the applicants. It is against this background that we believe his decision is unreasonable, punitive and irrational. He is enjoined to provide an explanation for his decision.” He said the absence of the explanation defeats the purpose of the disciplinary inquiry “and it must be inferred that the vice chancellor did not apply his mind to the facts and at the very least acted in an unreasonable manner by suspending the 11thapplicants when the appeals committee recommended censure. It is respectfully submitted that no reasonable person could have made such a decision in this circumstances.” The students were represented by Letsweletse Dingake of Dingake Law Partners while UB was represented by Chibanda, Makgalemele & Company.


Read this week's paper