MASERU — A student leader at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) was expelled on Thursday, sparking violent protests by students at the troubled institution.
Moeketsi Pholo, president of the Students Representative Council (SRC), was ejected for allegedly “disrupting” and “delaying” an exam last month.
Pholo, who denies the charge, received his letter of dismissal on Thursday.
The letter alleged that Pholo had disrupted and delayed a tourism exam on destination management.
“You did disrupt and delayed the test on destination management, DTOUR 204 on Wednesday the 6th October, 2010 at around 11:30 hours in Lecture Room 3,” the letter reads.
“You did interfere with and attempted to disrupt duties of Mrs Mahlape Mohale Jankie, the lecturer in the stipulated module, so that she should not conduct the said test.”
The letter gave Pholo 24 hours to vacate the university premises.
He was also ordered to return all university property under his care and to surrender all SRC documents to the student council’s vice president.
Pholo was also given five days to appeal against the dismissal.
“If you are not satisfied with this outcome you may appeal in writing within five days from the date of receipt of this letter,” says the dismissal letter.
In an interview with the Sunday Express on Friday, Pholo denied all allegations levelled against him.
He insisted that he never disrupted or interfered with the running of exams at the university.
“I never interrupted any examinations,” Pholo said.
“I went to that class following a request by the affected students to notify their lecturer about our pending request to management that tests be postponed.”
He said students had earlier appealed that exams be postponed claiming they had not had enough time to prepare following a three-week closure of the institution in September.
The university was shut down for three weeks in September following violent protests by students for better services.
Pholo said he only went to the class to notify the lecturer who was administering the exam that management was still considering the students’ appeal to postpone exams.
The students wanted the exam to be delayed by a week.
He said the appeal was however thrown out as examinations proceeded without incident.
He insisted that it was therefore not true that he disrupted any exams.
“I went there only because the campus governor, the person who supposedly would deal with this matter, was not around in his office,” Pholo said.
“I did not disturb anyone’s peace. I had no intentions to disturb school matters.
“This dismissal is unfair and I am going to sue the management for this.”
When the Sunday Express visited the campus on Thursday angry students were on the rampage banging doors and throwing stones.
They also allegedly beat up a lecturer and attacked the registrar, Moroka Hoohlo.
SRC vice-president Setubata Phafoli said he rushed to Hoohlo’s office to warn him that students were becoming violent.
But the next thing he saw were stones raining on the registrar’s office.
“Students got angry when they heard that Pholo had been expelled from school,” Phafoli said.
“They wanted the management to reverse the decision. They were angry and started banging on the doors.
“There was a hail of concrete stones thrown into the office.
“Ntate Hoohlo hid under his desk. Some of the stones hit us.
“But I managed to stop the attack.”
The protests continued on Friday with students who had gone back for lectures being bullied out of their classrooms to join the protest.
The students broke into protest songs vowing not to return to classes until the university reversed its decision to dismiss Pholo.