VIDEO & PICS: Hundreds of prospective UKZN students denied access to campus
Durban – Hundreds of students in need of assistance with outstanding registration queries have not been allowed to gain entry to the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Howard Campus facility, according to the Student Representative Council (SRC).
The SRC member, who is known to the Mercury but requested not to be named for fear of victimisation, said during the last meeting between the executive management and the SRC, a resolution was reached for the remainder of unregistered first-year students to be assisted on campus.
The SRC said management agreed to allow students who had paid the required registration fees or received confirmed funding decisions on campus from March 22 to April 1.
These students do not have access to technology or remote working, said the member. “These are first-year students coming in numbers.”
The student representative said hundreds of students had been arriving at the campus since Monday for assistance, however, management would not allow them inside.
“Today (Wednesday) there were about 200 students and some had turned back because they were told that they would not get inside.”
The student representative said the university must allow these students to be admitted onto the campus as they promised.
Another issue, according to the SRC, is the shortage of student residences.
Over 260 students found themselves stranded on Monday and Tuesday and were allowed to wait at the student offices and hall until sleeping arrangements could be made, said the member.
The SRC member said these students had travelled from other provinces and from the outskirts of KZN.
“It should be the university's responsibility to get residence for these students because they indicated through the central applications office when they applied to study at UKZN that they will be in need of residence. It turned out they were only offered a place to study and not residence.”
Temporary residence was offered to some of these students on campus while arrangements were made for others off-campus.
“Some of them are registered students, who were already assisted with registration and ready to start their academic year. There’s a shortage of residence.”
Acting executive director of corporate relations at UKZN, Normah Zondo, said has successfully registered over 50% of the 2021 cohort of first entry students.
“As per clearly outlined and agreed procedures, all registration processes are currently being undertaken online and remotely,” she said.
She said registration for this category of student had been extended for a further week
As per government regulations, Zondo said the university is obliged to put measures in place to safeguard the university community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Students' return to campus has been undertaken in a staggered approach through our Return to Campus Task Team, which includes SRC representatives.
“All learning and registration are being undertaken remotely and online until further notice, with the exception of necessary laboratory work, teaching and clinical practicals,” she said.
The university said only registered students with 2021 UKZN access permits are allowed onto campus. If registered for residence, they could take up their residence place.
“Students with an offer of residence must settle their residence deposit and will then be allocated their residence spaces provided they were registered students and had applied and were granted residence accommodation,” said Zondo.
Zondo said UKZN has been able to accommodate all students invited to campus thus far, and not all residence spaces have been filled.
She said the colleges have and continue to make telephonic and/or email contact with every student given a firm offer to assist them as required.
“No unregistered person is allowed onto campus,” said Zondo.
Students who were invited back to campus are issued with a UKZN 2021 access permit on application and are allowed access onto campus with their permit said the university.
Zondo said the people who have been waiting outside the campus since Monday are not registered and have therefore been denied access. No bona fide student has been left stranded, she said.
“We are aware of attempts by groups purporting to represent student interests gathering at the gates to create a crisis so that they can force entry onto campus with unregistered students,” she said.
Zondo added that the university would resist these unlawful actions.