SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 14, 2022

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University of Limpopo

Region & Country:Southern Africa | South Africa

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 14, 2022, parts of the University of Limpopo’s (UL) campus were damaged during a student demonstration over unpaid allowances. Protesting students tore down sections of the university’s gate and set at least one campus building on fire.

The protest was led by off-campus students who had not received accommodation allowances from the government for over seven months. According to reports, the protest was initially peaceful, however, the situation became volatile as police and university security forces clashed with the students.

A university spokesperson stated that UL would provide advance cash allowances in line with the university’s financial ability and that administrators are in contact with students and landlords to resolve the issue.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the destruction of campus property in the course of a student protest. While students have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have a responsibility to exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. The destruction of campus property amid student protests harms the ability of higher education communities to carry out core academic activities and undermines institutional autonomy.