Students of the University of Zimbabwe are expected to be locked in a battle with authorities of the institution following a circular that kissing and hugging have been banned on campus.
The circular, pasted on students’ halls of residence, says anyone ‘caught in intimate position (kissing or having sex in public places)’ will be severely dealt with.’
The university, which also bars students from ‘loitering in dark places at night especially in areas around Langham Road, dark areas outside the sports pavilion and lecture venues, allowing oneself to be a nuisance within the University premises and harbouring squatters in the study bedroom, among others,’ has been countered by the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) which described the regulations as an infringement of their rights. ‘These rules infringe on our rights as adults. We cannot be treated like secondary school children. The university is giving too much power to the guards who are left to define what intimate positions means. We cannot allow it,’ Zinasu board member, Tinotenda Mhungu said.
Zinasu UZ president, Gift Maphosa said the regulations were implemented without the consent of the Student Representative Committee. ‘About 500 Manfred residents were made to sign as they had attended the meeting. Students are intimidated by the threat of being refused residence on campus. Accommodation is problematic at the institution and students will sign anything to ensure they get accommodation, but this is not fair,’ Maphosa said.
‘In this age to say I’m no longer allowed to kiss or hug someone… is unreasonable,’ Tsitsi Mazikana, the students’ gender representative, said.
If they were talking about anything moral they wouldn’t be placing condoms in the hostels and in the clinic, but… kissing and hugging – there’s nothing immoral about that,’ she told the BBC’s Newsday programme.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) said the university administration had a habit of instituting arbitrary rules without consulting student bodies. It is not the first time the university would put a law that draws the ire of students in place, it banned Beer on campus about seven years ago, a decision that ultimately proved very unpopular.