Johannesburg - Fires and looting took place at North-West University’s (NWU) Mahikeng campus on Wednesday night when students went on the rampage.
Damages were estimated to run into millions, university spokesman Koos Degenaar said on Thursday.
“This administration building was completely destroyed, along with all official records,” he said.
The campus has been closed indefinitely and the university has advised students to leave campus “immediately for their own safety”.
“Students will be given at least a month’s notice of the reopening of campus,” said NWU-Mafikeng.
“We need to make sure our students are protected and not caught in the middle,” Degenaar said.
Earlier on Wednesday students were injured in a clash with campus security, the university said.
Degenaar said that the trouble on the campus had started after a newly appointed Student Representative Council (SRC) was inaugurated on Wednesday.
The previous SRC was dissolved earlier this month by the university management, which claimed that it had not been performing its duties as required by its constitution.
After the inauguration there were running battles between university security and students who supported the previous SRC. Rubber bullets and teargas had to be used to disperse the students.
Shocking video footage, which did the rounds on social media on Wednesday, showed a man bleeding and a security guard walking around campus apparently shooting at students. Some on Twitter also claimed that a student had been killed.
But Deganaar dismissed reports that a student had been killed and that live ammunition had been used.
He said several arrests had been made, which North West police spokeswoman Sergeant Kelebogile Moleko confirmed.
Second-year law student Norman Magobiane told The Star on Thursday morning that students began to leave the campus as early as 8am.
“I’m planning on going home today. What happened last night and yesterday, those events, have made me tired,” he said. “If and when we come back, there is going to be a lot to catch up.”
Twitter was abuzz with reactions to the events, with @Nokukhanya_2405 saying black students were not taken seriously “in our own land”.
While @tshepoi said: “Vandalism & destruction of property cannot be justified.”