No university is an island

A higher learning institution such as a university is supposed to embrace universal norms and standards as prescribed by our Constitution.

A higher learning institution such as a university is supposed to embrace universal norms and standards as prescribed by our Constitution.

Our Constitution prescribes a fundamental tenet of a society that embraces democratic values of common humanity. By extension, facilities in these institutions should allow for equal access and be unencumbered by racial proclivities of the pre-1994 political era.

Needless to say, the previous dispensation promoted a social paradigm that was inimical to universal norms of a society free from racial prejudice.

By their nature, universities are centres of learning aimed at extending new frontiers of knowledge and a social mindset for the common good and societal well-being.

This ethos ought not be compromised at the behest of a minority acting out of selfish and antiquated social norms.

This ethos should provide the basis for solutions needed by the Free State University to tackle the current strife engulfing the institution. For the record, the institution is grappling with demands by white students for segregated residences because of cultural differences - reasoning which is merely a guise to perpetuate anachronistic conservatism.

Like other institutions, the Free State University has a constitutional obligation to advance a scholar community that resonates with the democratic norms of the new South Africa.

This understanding should be a shared term of engagement between the university and prospective students at the point of admission. Simply put, students should not be allowed to stand in opposition to the expressed ideals of an institution by forcing it to bend backwards to entertain their parochial whims.

As Frederick Fourie, the vice chancellor, has pointed out it is important for the students to be socialised in a manner that prepares them for interaction with the broader society.

Antiquated social norms such as segregation have no place in the greater world - and ironically are bound to turn its proponents into relics of the past.

Ultimately the status quo dictates that there should be an amicable parting between the university and the incorrigible worshippers of the past in the event of continued obduracy on the part of the aggrieved party.

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