'You can't study at the barrel of a gun'

01 November 2016 - 08:45 By JAN BORNMAN


A group of Wits University students has approached the Johannesburg High Court to interdict the university from starting final exams on Thursday. Instead, the students want the exams moved to January or start in two weeks' time.The students, represented by legal NGO the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, argued that the continued police presence on campus had le d to an environment not conducive to studying.Senior attorney Thulani Nkosi said the application began with 25 studentsignatories but the number had grown to 3000.Seadimo Tlale, a final-year LLB student, argued that with the continued protests and police presence, students had not had sufficient time to prepare for exams. #FeesMustFall update: Violence, security for exams and ultimatumsAn airport style security cordon will protect Rhodes University students writing their exams this year‚ the institution says‚ while those at the University of the Witwatersrand can expect "comprehensive security plans" to minimise potential disruptions from protesters.She said if exams were held on Thursday the "inevitable" consequences would be that the vast majority of students would either fail or substantially underachieve. To avoid this, the university would have to increase the marks of all students.Tlale said black, poor students would be negatively affected."This period (#FeesMustFall protests) has been marked not only by ongoing violence but a strong police presence. Police have fired stun grenades, teargas and rubber bullets indiscriminately." Rhodes manages a day of peaceful examsRelative calm descended on Rhodes University on Thursday‚ a day after turbulent protests.Some university staff had backed the call to delay exams.The Wits Black Academics Caucus' Crispen Chinguno said students had not been able to prepare for the exams properly as they had been "traumatised" by the "militarisation of campus".Another staff member who asked to remain anonymous said the university was "setting the students up for failure."You can't possibly be studying at the barrel of a gun. I sincerely feel they shouldn't write", he said.Wits University spokesman Shirona Patel said the university was aware of the planned interdict but would not comment further.

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