Speakers at talk hosted by Yale Village House Committee urge students to use all available support as examinations approach

Students should keep open communication lines with academic staff at all times, and make use of available platforms such as house committee WhatsApp groups and the SRC’ s suicide hotline, as the mid-year exam season approaches.

This was the advice to about 70 students who attended a discussion on academic exclusions hosted by the Yale Village House Committee on Tuesday, May 7.

The audience was warned about the issues that may lead to a student getting excluded from university, such as funding and being involved in toxic relationships.

“As the SRC we try our best to ensure that students come back to university. Students need to communicate with us, so we can help them appeal and ensure that they continue with their studies,” said SRC academic officer Palesa Mofokeng, who was one of the keynote speakers.

Former chairperson of SASCO Education Campus Hlanganipho Nkambule, said that the issue of exclusion was broader than not being able to afford fees, as it also covered mental health and social influences on a student’s academic life.

“The fact that they can pay your fees at home doesn’t mean that you can escape exclusion. Coming from an abusive background, or being in unhealthy relationships can affect your health and how you perform as a student. There are diverse issues that affect student performance,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

Two students raised concerns about not meeting Due Perfomance (DP) requirements because of poor class attendance. What happens when one performs well academically through studying alone, and yet fails to meet DP requirements because of poor class attendance, they asked.

Mofokeng’s response was that students should communicate their different study mechanisms with lecturers ahead of time, in order for accommodation to be made where possible.

“Academic exclusion is one of the things that can really diminish all opportunities. Students have to adapt into the system for the first three months and it’s usually after the second block that you start asking yourself where am I going wrong and what are my chances within this university,” she said.

The speakers also cautioned students about how academic exclusion continues into other aspects of a student’s life. “Being excluded academically has a ripple effect on other aspects because once you are excluded you don’t get res, and funding,” said former All Residence Council academic officer Nondumiso Thango. She advised students to communicate with their house committees, as they would with their lecturers.

The academic officer of Yale Village residence Nombulelo Qhojeng, who is also a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education student, said that as the house committee, they are aware of the importance of supporting students and limiting exclusion.

“We have a WhatApp group as house comm where students can easily access us. Ask questions on venues for lectures among other things. We also have Sunday tutorials for first years to attend and improve performance,” Qhojeng said.

Computer Sciences first-year student Vusumuzi Booi, 19, said he attended the talk because of the many things he was dealing with, especially the pressure of adjusting to university.

“The talk made me realise that it’s still early and I can do anything if I start now. Consulting is also important and we tend to take it lightly, so we must ask when we face challenges,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

FEATURED IMAGE: About 70 students listen during a Yale Village discussion on academic exclusions.  Photo: Molebogeng Mokoka