Community service for Wits protesters

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Copy of si wits (36343420) The Star Students are seen at Wits University's main campus. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannebsurg - Ten students were sentenced to community service on Friday for disrupting a concert by Israeli pianist Yossi Reshef, the University of the Witwatersrand said.

In March last year, the students caused the recital to be cancelled as part of the student council's “cultural boycott of Israel success”.

On Friday, 10 of the 11 students charged for the disruption were sentenced to one year of academic exclusion, suspended on condition that they not be found guilty of any other misconduct over the next two years.

Wits rector Adam Habib said in a statement: “These students will not be allowed to hold any office in any student governance structure for a period of one year”.

They would also have to perform 80 hours of community service each. One of 10 students was also found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction from a university employee, and sentenced to an additional 50 hours of community service.

“Wits is renowned for encouraging freedom of expression, dialogue and debate on often diverse and conflicting views confronting society, provided that it does not exceed the limitations explicated in our Constitution,” Habib said.

In August 2012, the Wits student representative council passed a resolution to boycott Israel, as part of the Palestinian solidarity movement.

According to the resolution, the SRC would not participate in “any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions”.


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