September 2012, is a month that Cyprian Nyakundi, a Second Year Student of Acturial Science at Meru University College a campus ironically affiliated to renowned ICT JKUAT campus will always remember for the rest of his life.
It is then that events that led to his suspension and forceful eviction from campus by police called in by the campus begun.
The Student, from Kisii County, Keroka, got a chilling letter on 10th September, signed by no less than the Deputy Principal, a Professor Gitonga Mburugu, requiring him to present himself before a panel dubbed University Disciplinary Committee on 18th September at 10am.
The letter was categorical he would be appearing before the committee to answer the following charges, “You are Tarnishing the Image of the University through the use of Social Media” (The letter he got is here attached)
Nyakundi used his Twitter and Facebook accounts to update the following;
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 “The Library is not updated and the books are outdated, with no infusion of books that address modern challenges of the professions we are being ready for in class”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”
After appearing at the committee, Today, Friday 5th Oct. 2012 he received three letters all dated 25th September 2012. The letters that came together started with a warning that he should refrain from using social media to critic the school, never mind they called it shaming the institution.
The second letter copied to all departmental head was announcing the results of the Disciplinary committee saying, Nyakundi had been suspended apparently because during his appearance he maintained that he was the one who had authored the above social media updates.
The Third letter was the last hammer by the group of academics who clearly are a shame to the world of creativity and have no business being managers of an institution – they were emphatic, “You are suspended for one academic year for using social media to tarnish the image of the institution”
Nyakundi who contacted me via Twitter, is then advised he has 14 days to appeal the decision, the question is what decision? This country has a constitution and its national collective mind has place for critic.
There is nothing wrong in a student expressing themselves about the state of an institution, we demand that he be reinstated back to school now and without conditions, failure to which we will get him a lawyer and question the issues the Institution wishes were buried in public.
Unfortunately I must note, there is increasing intolerance for Social Media, but good ideas are unstoppable, especially as they say, the idea whose time has come.
Those with a Facebook Account I Urge you make this issue your update, those with a Twitter account #LetNyakundiTweet