Frustrated Durban University of Technology (DUT) have resorted to squatting outside the gates of the university’s Steve Biko campus following difficulties to acquire accommodation.
The students have been sleeping outside the university since Tuesday, waiting to be allocated accommodation. However, that has not happened.
According to the university’s Student Representative Council (SRC), the group of students have not been allocated to residences due the vaccination mandate that was implemented by the institution in the beginning of the year.
“We have been using the SRC funds to provide accommodation for students who are not allocated to residences, but now, we have run out of funds, hence, that’s why students are sleeping outside the gate.” said the SRC’s former deputy chairperson, Mzomuhle Majozi.
DUT spokesperson Alan Khan denied the SRC claims. He said some of those students who camped outside the Steve Biko campus were a group of civilians, affectionately known as ‘walk-ins’ who were seeking academic spaces at DUT.
“The Department of Housing and Residence Life has affirmed that registered students have been allocated accommodation. Although there were issues with the functionality of the department after unknown criminals vandalised the Corlo Court office this week, where the department is currently working from, all students who had visited the office were attended,” said Khan.
However, the SRC has disputed this, stressing that the students were being denied access to residences because they were not vaccinated.
“We had engagements with the management prior with regards to this issue and other issues that students are facing, but there were no solutions,” said Majozi.
Khan maintained his statement, explaining that the DUT Council approved a vaccination policy that offers three options to students, staff and visitors. He also stated that DUT has a vaccination programme that is free for students and staff.
“In a meeting between the DUT SRC and the Department of Student Housing and Residence Life, all matters were discussed and the request from the SRC to have a representative from the DUT Finance Department present during residence registration was noted and communicated accordingly,” Khan concluded.
The university management is expected to meet with the SRC on Thursday, February 24, to discuss pertinent student governance matters.