On November 8, 2021, students reportedly set fire to a building and damaged a library at Durban University of Technology (DUT) during a protest.
Two student groups – the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command and Student Representative Council – held a protest over the university’s failure to pay some students’ financial aid allowances, as well as issues in student residences including access to wifi and water.
DUT closed its Steve Biko, M.L. Sultan, and Ritson campuses and asked students to vacate; classes were held online during the closure.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the destruction of campus property and violence during on-campus protests. While students and other protesters have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they also have a responsibility to exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. Violence and the destruction of campus property harm the ability of higher education communities to safely and adequately conduct research, teaching, and other academic activities. Such incidents undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.