The University of the Western Cape will be enforcing a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy from next year, warning that unvaccinated students and staff would not be allowed on campus or attend university events.
However, UWC’s student leadership have warned of a revolt, calling the move “academic coercion”.
UWC joined the University of Witwatersrand and University of Free State in adopting the policy for the 2022 academic year.
UWC said while it is an interim policy that would be reviewed after the first semester, it had adopted a “soft approach” that allowed the majority of its student population to register, but would bar unvaccinated students from accessing campus facilities – including residences.
The director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, Professor Tulio de Oliveira, said new infections in Tshwane appeared to be centred around universities and colleges.
UWC said students, staff, service providers and visitors could apply for an exemption from the policy based on verifiable medical, constitutional or religious grounds.
However, students in medical fields that require on-site attendance, such as dentistry and nursing, would need to be vaccinated before they can register.
“Flexible online learning and teaching will continue in most faculties for 2022,” it added.
But the UWC’s SRC president, Sakhile Mngadi, told the Weekend Argus: “All this will do is create chaos come next year because you will find students outside the gates of the university coming in for walk-in applications, but will be barred from coming in.
“First-year students who come from afar will not be able to access residences unless they are vaccinated – this is academic coercion.
This will lead to anarchy – as a student body, we will fuel the fire if need be.”