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DUT to meet SRC after students camp outside campus overnight over Covid-19 vaccine policy

Returning students say the Durban University of Technology's vaccination policy is tough on students who don't want the jab.
Returning students say the Durban University of Technology's vaccination policy is tough on students who don't want the jab.
Image: Lwazi Hlangu

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) says students who don't want to take the Covid-19 vaccine have options that will allow them to continue their studies. 

DUT issued a statement on Wednesday after returning students reportedly slept outside the Steve Biko campus on Tuesday night, claiming they weren't allocated housing because they weren't vaccinated. 

The university said it was “gravely concerned about the civilians who were pictured sleeping outside the Steve Biko campus in Durban”.

“The photographs circulating on social media platforms, were accompanied by malicious, misleading information about DUT having a mandatory vaccination policy preventing the internal university community and its stakeholders from entry onto university property or any current students from being allocated accommodation at the University’s student residences.”

It said the vaccination policy offered three options to staff, students and visitors. 

According to option 1, anyone wanting to access the campus should be fully vaccinated and there were on-site facilities to assist. Alternatively, the DUT would facilitate hospital-based vaccination services.

For those who didn't want to take the jab, they could continue with online activities and services but needed to submit a negative PCR test 48 hours before arrival, should they need to be on campus. The cost would be self-funded.

If staff or students didn't want to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative PCR, they were welcome to continue with “online-based activities and services”.  The university said if practical sessions, laboratory sessions and other academic and non-academic work required physical attendance, there would be consequences for individual choices.

DUT confirmed that registered students were allocated accommodation but acknowledged that criminals who vandalised the Corlo Court office this week, where the housing department was operating, might have affected operations.

The department said first-year students who had applied and submitted the necessary documentation had been allocated accommodation. This applied also to returning, funded and financially-cleared students. 

“Students who still have outstanding documentation and who approached the department, have not yet been allocated spaces but they were provided temporary accommodation.

“A communication was sent to all students who have been allocated accommodation, advising them of the latest developments and how allocations are being dealt with. The university is also finalising contracts of its leased external residencies which had expired in the previous year (2021).

“The new set of approved contracts of five buildings in Durban were received early this week, which will see more students being allocated accommodation, provided that they applied, they are financially cleared and registered for 2022.”

The university said it would meet the student representative council about related governance matters on Thursday. 


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