Student news wrap 26/07/19

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News for and about students.

Walter Sisulu university halts social events on campus after deaths

Social events have been put on hold at all Walter Sisulu University (WSU) campuses following the deaths of two students in June. The killings happened during a knife fight at a braai event attended by around 5,000 students. One victim was found dead at the scene and the second body was found less than a kilometre off-campus. WSU vice-chancellor professor Rob Midgley said the decision was taken by the council executive. He added that a student parliament meeting should be held on every campus to deliberate upon the nature, role, organisation and impact of student bashes. The decision was met with shock by WSU SRC president Samkelo Mqai who said it was taken without student consultation. SA Union of Student’s (SAUS) president Misheck Mugabe said the move would harm the students’ mental health and could cause depression and anxiety. He also stated that it would endanger students as they would be forced to go off-campus for social events. – As reported by Dispatch Live 

Myamar universities hire private security on campuses

The use of private security companies on SA campuses came under scrutiny during the fees must fall protests and more recently this year was brought back into focus after private security guards shot and killed a student at DUT. While the EFF at DUT is pushing for the removal of the private security company there, it seems that universities in Myanmar are now going in the opposite direction. Dr Thein Win, the director general of Myanmar’s Higher Education Department, said the department would no longer appoint security personnel and that universities would have to budget to hire security. – Read more on the Eleven Myanmar site

Greek students protest plan allowing police onto university campuses

While private security is being welcomed in Myanmar, students in Greece planned a protest against a proposal to end a law forbidding police from entering university campuses on Tuesday. The plan was brought about by new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who said campuses were being used to harbour criminals and anarchists. The new policy would allow students and faculty members to call in the police if they see – or become a victim of – any form of crime on campuses. Students, unions and political rivals are however demanding absolute asylum for universities. – More on this on the Ekathimerini news site

Tutu Truck free hair cuts for HIV testing

The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation has joined forces with Legends Barbershop to tackle the stigma around HIV testing for men. To encourage more men to do so, they are offering a free haircut to men who get tested. The Amajita Tutu Truck is working around the Philippi area outside Cape Town. Besides testing, it also offers HIV counselling and screening for tuberculosis, sexually-transmitted infections and hypertension. One of the main reasons for men not getting tested is because it’s seen as being weak or unmanly. Long queues, misinformation, unpaid leave from work and fear of a positive diagnosis have also played a part. – Read more on the Health-e site

Oxford recognises Cape Flats poet

Award winning author and poet, Athol Williams, has received a distinction for his thesis at Oxford University in the UK. Athol, who comes from Mitchell’s Plain, is the first person to earn Masters degrees from five of the top universities in the world, including Oxford, Harvard, the London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London Business School. His achievement is even more noteworthy because Athol does not come from a privileged background. Williams is also the co-founder of the Read to Rise literacy project which has distributed new books to more than 100,000 learners and plans a book festival in the gang-infested Cape Flats next month. – Read more about his story on the PeopleSA site and his website

UKZN suspends class on all campuses

In response to protests and clashes between students and police earlier this week, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) yesterday announced it was suspending classes across all five campuses for the rest of the week. Citing “sporadic violence, arson, intimidation, and harassment of staff and students”, the university said it was closing campus for the safety of staff and students and would reopen on Monday. It said the decision was not taken lightly and that it would open up space to engage with student leadership. The protests began after meetings last week saw little progress in addressing issues with funding and the poor state of residences.