Today 11 February, Professor Ahmed Bawa, Vice Chancellor of Durban University of Technology (DUT), released a letter containing an update on recent student protests at the university. Yesterday a memorandum by the university’s SRC and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) was delivered to Professor Bawa explaining the students’ grievances, most of which relate to financial aid, a serious issue affecting poor and working-class students across the country, which we hope will be speedily and peacefully resolved.
However, in Professor Bawa’s letter he also states that:
“One of the demands on the memorandum was deregistration of Jewish students at DUT, to which my response was that this was outrageous, preposterous and a deep violation of our National Constitution and every human rights principle.No student at DUT will be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, gender, political affiliation or sexual orientation.”
The Secretary of the SRC, Mqondisi Duma is quoted in a news article as saying: “As the SRC, we had a meeting and analysed international politics. We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.”
As Equal Education we condemn the blatantly discriminatory stance and statements of the SRC and PYA of DUT. No person should be excluded from a university on the basis of race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, or political opinion. Stating that Jewish students should be removed from the university is offensive, hurtful and runs counter to the values of our Constitution, and any sense of basic decency.
It is also unacceptable to use the Palestinian struggle for liberation to justify such prejudice. In fact it harms and undermines that legitimate struggle, which Equal Education fully supports, to end Israeli Military Occupation and Apartheid.
We call on all progressive organisations, particularly those involved in supporting the Palestinian movement, to condemn the call made by the SRC and PYA of DUT, and to demonstrate through their own example that anti-semitism has no place in the struggle for Palestinian freedom and equality.
Nombulelo Nyathela (EE Spokesperson) 060 503 4933