New Vision (Kampala)

9 January 2013

Uganda: Victoria University Loses British Affiliation

Photo: New Vision
Victoria University.

Kampala — The University of Burkingham in the UK has suspended its affiliation to Victoria University in Uganda that was established about a year ago.

The suspension was connected to Uganda's laws against homosexuality and the Anti-homosexuality Bill currently before Parliament.

The Victoria University Chancellor, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, told New Vision that the university has not been closed, but has only lost affiliation to the University of Burkingham.

Nsibambi said the University of Burkingham (UB) wanted Victoria University to include a clause in its statute, stating that no person will be discriminated on basis of "sex orientation" among others.

But in view of the fact that the Constitution and Penal Code prohibits same-sex marriages and homosexuality, Victoria University could not do as the UB wanted. Consequently, UB suspended the affiliation of Victoria University.

Nsibambi said on Tuesday he held a meeting with the proprietors of Victoria University to discuss the way forward. He explained that an alternative will be found for the students who were pursuing the courses of the UB. But the students doing the local courses will not be affected.

Earlier, the vice-chancellor, Dr. David Young, met the students on Tuesday and briefed them about the development.

The university was opened on September 10, 2011 by President Yoweri Museveni and had admitted close to 600 students.

It charged between $3,500 (about sh9.1m) and $4,600 (about sh11.9m) tuition fees per year. The most expensive courses like nursing and computing cost $7,000 (about sh18.2m) a year. This is minus the functional fees of $950 (about sh1.4m).

Saying that the university would meet parents over the issue next week, Young said the University of Burkingham is not pleased with Uganda's anti-gay posture.

"Under both UK and Ugandan law, discrimination on a variety of grounds is prohibited. However there are fundamental differences between the two nations' respective laws regarding equality and diversity, which cannot be reconciled," Young said later in a statement.

He explained that since the two states had contradicting laws on homosexuality, Victoria University could not comply with both sets of laws.

"Therefore, the collaboration between Victoria University and the University of Buckingham has been suspended because it cannot operate in a status of legal uncertainty and/or non-compliance."

Young, however, promised that the university would transfer the affected students to other institutions in Kenya, London or Middlesex University in Dubai.

Those not interested in studying from abroad, he said, would be helped to find other universities in Uganda.

The students of public health and nursing would continue with their studies at the university's medical centre which remains operational.

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