On July 17, 2019, students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus reportedly stoned police vehicles and destroyed campus property while protesting living conditions and the exclusion of certain students from examinations.
Over one hundred students reportedly gathered on campus to protest poor living conditions at student dormitories, and an apparent rule barring students who participated in similar protests from taking exams.
At the July 17 protest, students burned furniture on campus and allegedly threw stones at campus property and police vehicles. Some lectures were reportedly disrupted because of the violence. Police and campus security guards reportedly dispersed the protesters. Police reportedly opened a public violence case. No injuries have been reported as of this report.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a campus protest. While students have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have an obligation to exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. Violence during a campus protest endangers the higher education community and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.