CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

14 November 2012

Kenya: Meru University of Science and Technology Suspends Student for Social Media Criticism

A university student at Meru University College of Science and Technology is currently serving a one year suspension for making complaints against the college on Twitter. Cyprian Nyakundi showed CIO East Africa documents from the university asking him to appear before a disciplinary committee for "tarnishing the name of the University on social media".

Nyakundi is in the second semester of his second year of a B. Sc Actuarial Science undergraduate degree.

The committee found him guilty of "tarnishing the university image through social media". It then recommended for Nyakundi to be suspended for one year and resume studies in May 2013, and that he be issued with a warning letter.

In a letter sent to Nyakundi from the University's Deputy Principal, Nyakundi is found "guilty as charged". The committee decided that to discourage such occurrences in the future, you are sternly warned to refrain from such behaviour. If you continue, further disciplinary measures will be taken against you."

Dennis Itumbi broke the story early October on his blog (http://www.dennisitumbi.com/?p=643) and lists the updates that got Nyakundi suspended as the below:

1. "There are no enough chairs and we have to carry chairs (from block) AA to the workshop (which is too far)"

2. " At the Cafeteria, students scrum for food because the population of admission compared to resources budgeted is too high"

3. "The road from the University to the Nchiru town, which is the nearest is very dusty"

4. "The Library is not updated and the books are outdated, with no infusion of books that address modern challenges of the professions we are being ready for in class"

5. "The Deputy Principal Academics should get serious with his work and the Dean should wake up and address our concerns and the Principal should watch out and be keen on Student Affairs"

Addressing a Social Media gathering at the University of Nairobi, Kenya's Permanent Minister in the Ministry of Information and Communication came across Nyakundi's case. " I promised to deal with the issue if the student did not infringe on anybody's rights. Later I spoke to the PS Higher Education and former Vice Chancellor at the University of Nairobi. Recalling that we dealt with many of such issues while we were at the University, Prof. Kiamba promised to look at the matter. I set up the appointment for the student to meet with the PS. They met and the student is to check on Monday (2 weeks ago) if his case has been sorted out. I am optimistic that he will get back to his studies."

Nyakundi says that he is yet to hear from the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Professor Crispus Kiamba. He however remains optimistic that his case will be concluded to his advantage and that he will be allowed to resume his studies.

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