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By: Annakleta Haikera – Rundu

Students at the Unam campus in Rundu claim that they have been turned away from registering for accommodation in the hostels because they are not vaccinated.

According to the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the Rundu Campus, the university on 17 January implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for its hostels.

They say that this is inhumane treatment and that the management is imposing this on vulnerable students who cannot afford to pay for accommodation outside the campus.

The student leaders say they won’t allow this because they did not sign any contract agreeing to be subjected to vaccination or have objections on medical grounds before entering the campus hostel. The SRCs are condemning the move and calling to reverse this decision with immediate effect.

“We are very much aware that the university is hiding under one of the precautionary measures, which is a precautionary measure, stating that ‘students living in university accommodation are strongly advised to get vaccinated unless such students cannot be vaccinated on medical grounds.’ Hence, students are being refused upon hostel registration if they don’t have vaccination cards,” Vice-President at Unam Rundu Campus, Mukoya Vernet, told The Villager.

Students at the campus are not happy with this decision, because they were supposed to be in the hostel from 1 February. Only eight students are vaccinated, and those are all student nurses. The university always admits 80 students in the hostel, but 72 students are still yet not admitted to date.

 “The university should adhere to the State call and put it voluntarily. Should the university continue with this action, we, the SRC and concerned students will be left with no other choice than to resort to what may put the university’s name in disrepute. We never gave Unam any right to subject us to medical treatment directly or indirectly.”

“My views are very clear. As students, we don’t want to make threats, but no student is being forced to be vaccinated by the ministries of gender, justice, and education. Therefore who is Unam? It’s a parastatal. I don’t think we can now overrule and understand the provision these people are trying to run. Unam should reverse their decision, and we are giving them until Friday, 13h00. If students are still sent back, the leaders will take matters into their own hands.”

He said the SRCs tried asking the management whether Unam is ready to be liable if any adverse effect arises after a student is vaccinated. Still, they have not received any answers to their questions.

“We will not continue with this again. Tomorrow will be the deadline.”

Hango Vaino, an SRC in the hostel, said that he was turned away due to not providing a vaccination card.

“Student Support Office and matrons in the hostel say we should have vaccination cards to enter the hostel. This feels like signing a contract, and it’s against my will. By law, signing a contract means I am forced to take the vaccination. “

Bonifatius Andreas, another student on the campus, said, “This policy of us getting vaccinated before entering the hostel is not good because we think they are forcing matters on us, the vulnerable, who cannot afford to pay for the hostel.”

“If this implies on the hostel, then everybody on the Unam campus grounds should get vaccinated, and I know that vaccination is not mandatory but voluntary. No one has the right to force anyone to get vaccinated.”

Efforts to get responses from the Unam Rundu campus management prove futile as they told this reporter that they are busy.

Julia Heita

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