NWU student suspended for ‘disrupting LGBTIQA+ session’


A student at the North-West University’s (NWU) Potchefstroom Campus has been suspended after making a headline regarding LGBTQIA+ content during an orientation session for first years.

The orientation session for freshmen, which according to the NWU was approved by its council, took place on Tuesday and during one of the sessions there was talk about psychological well-being, the rights of persons living with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ community issues, and environmental sustainability awareness.

A senior student attending the session stood up from the audience and moved to the stage where he expressed his displeasure at the LGBTQIA+ content on the agenda. “It was done in a disruptive manner that did not respect the rights of other members of the audience, and certainly not what is expected of members of the NWU,” says the university in a statement.

“The student’s actions caused disruption and confusion among the students and a large part of the audience left the proceedings. The NWU is proud to be a diverse and inclusive institution that allows constructive discourse on all matters, regardless of race, religion, culture or gender/sexual orientation.”

According to the NWU, it strongly condemns any action where the fundamental rights of association and expression are violated. “We view the incident in a very serious light and that is why we immediately started an investigation.” The student in question was consequently temporarily suspended for his disruptive behaviour, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

A student, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, told RNews that “what should be academia has turned into a left-wing political agenda and the suppression of free speech”.

“All signs point to LGBTQIA+ portraying a form of belief and/or a type of moral/faith value. It’s all 100% what other people think, believe and do. Why should we participate if we just want to learn and go home? The NWU went out of their way to promote the new ‘believe system‘ down young students’ throats.”

The student believes the suspension of the senior student “is a direct charge on freedom of speech after the NWU forced him to listen to their opinion”.

According to the university’s statement, the orientation of first-year students to a new environment, which should serve as their home for the next few years, should cover as many relevant issues as possible to ensure that they know and appreciate the diverse nature of a higher education institution like the NWU .

“Therefore, we will continue to allow our staff and students to share and give advice on matters relevant to the university community and society in general. Students who feel that their rights are being violated or disregarded should make use of the various reporting mechanisms.”