Higher Education News South Africa

CUT enforces discipline to ensure safer campuses

Since the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) established an in-house Legal Services Unit, the university has been able to hold disciplinary hearings, especially where misconduct is concerned. In the past, most disciplinary actions were taken against those found to have committed academic misconduct, but now the unit also focuses on general misconduct.
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Photo by RODNAE Productions via www.pexels.com

Kwena Mageza, senior director of Legal Services, stated that rebuilding the institution’s Legal Services Unit will focus on holistic governance issues.

“Since the establishment of the Legal Section last year, CUT has been able to hold numerous disciplinary hearings in house, especially where misconduct is concerned. We’ve had about 15 general misconduct hearings, and we’ve been able to handle all matters internally,” said Mageza.

The disciplinary charges included alleged incidents of assault, incitement during unlawful striking, gender-based violence (GBV), sexual harassment, National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) fraud, obstruction of governance and proper administration of the university, theft, arson, unlawful striking and intimidation thereof, and contempt of interdict.

Mageza added that the university encourages students to familiarise themselves with the code of conduct. “Our aim is not to be punitive. We want to be corrective and developmental as well.

This is an opportunity for all students to familiarise themselves with the code of conduct, and a reminder that if they do misbehave, they will be charged, and there will be consequences which will impact their futures,” she stated.

The following ten graduate attributes should be fostered in CUT students in an environment rich with learning experiences, co-curricular experiences, formal courses and extra extracurricular activities: sustainable development, community engagement, entrepreneurship, innovation and problem-solving, technological literacy, numeracy, communication, technical and conceptual competence, teamwork, and citizenship and global leadership.

CUT Registrar, Dr Sally Dzingwa, added that discipline is important to CUT.

“The university is constantly working towards ensuring a safe study and work environment for all students and employees. This starts with a culture of no fear when reporting a misconduct, with the knowledge that an investigation will be conducted, followed by disciplinary hearings, should the need arise; we’ll certify that they are safer on our campuses,” added Dr Dzingwa.

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