On Suspension of Pregnant Unmarried Students: Why IUIU Virtues Must be Respected
Opinion: Respect IUIU Virtues
For the past couple of days, social and mainstream media have been awash with dramatized and exaggerated reports about the suspension of students from the Islamic University In Uganda (IUIU).
Most of these reports are subjective in nature and aimed at damging the good image of the institution — an institution whose contribution to the intellectual mass of this country is so evident.
Like any other institution, the establishment of the Islamic University was a well-thought of idea, guided by core Islamic principles of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1974.
The inauguration of the Islamic University In Uganda in 1988 was informed by legal provisions of the land, which also guide the numerous policies particularly those pertaining to students’ Academic and Moral Conduct on and off Campus.
Such policies are routinely reviewed by the relevant authorities to ensure maximum tolerance and conformity.
The idea of a religious-based University is a globally accepted phenomenon.
Religious Universities with their differing religious doctrines are known for their strict adherence to norms and customs of the respective religious denominations.
This also applies to those in more secular, free and democratic countries like in the USA.
The Islamic University In Uganda is just one of the many Universities in the country whose rules and regulations are embedded in religious doctrines.
The Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda Christian University (UCU), Bugema University and Kisubi University are the other examples of religious universities.
The modus-operandi of the institution was clearly outlined in the paper work that preceded its inception. This is a pointer that the government endorsed its operationalisation.
The mission of the University states thus: “To function as an academic and cultural institution based on Islam and love of nations“.
This is a clear indication that the university was established to uphold the moral virtues of the Islamic faith thus binding to all the members of staff and students wishing to study at this institution.
The decision to seek admission at IUIU is an individual choice, not a mandatory one.
This therefore means that those choosing to study at the institution make a personal consent to abide by the set rules and regulations.
A copy of these rules is made available to all joining students and formerly assent to follow the rules.
The decision by the University’s disciplinary committee to recommend expulsion of 10 students and suspension of 13 students for one year for contravention of set university rules and regulations is laudable.
This is not the first time for students to be discontinued from institutions of higher learning.
Precedents of the same have been documented by numerous writers and readily available in just a click.
The intrigued emphasis rendered to this usual happening at any institution of higher learning turns out into some kind of intolerance to the Islamic faith and the virtues that guide the running of its institution in a secular country, with constitutional provisions on religious freedoms.
Questioning the gravity of the offences committed by the students, most especially by people ignorant of Islamic jurisprudence; a core value of the institution, is complete adamant ignorance.
The consent to abide by the set rules and regulations signed by all joining students exonerates the Islamic University.
Presenting the offences as minor by the outsiders and culprits is total prejudice to the autonomy of the institution.
What would hold water instead is the hearing process that guided the decision of the disciplinary committee.
The provisions on individual right to fair hearing should be the matter of contest.
However, based on the fact that the students were given room to appeal the decision through a higher body points to elements of a process that follows the basic tenets of a fair hearing.
The university’s decision is not final. A decision reached by the University Executive Board, the highest ranking authority. is also subject to annulment by the High Court and Court of Appeal respectively.
Notwithstanding claims of violation of a number of rights by self-imposed social media activists, and considering the essence for the establishment of the Islamic University, part of which is strict adherence to the Islamic norms and customs, the disciplinary committee was right to recommend expulsion of the offenders.
This sends a clear signal to others wishing to join the institution that the virtues of the Islamic university must be strictly treasured.
The choice to join a religious university must be embraced with a sense of responsibility and respect to the norms of the religion even by members of other faiths.
Provided that your right to religious freedoms has not been violated, respect to the norms of your host becomes mandatory not a choice.
Najib Nsubuga Ssekikubo is a Moslem intellectual.