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Calls to reinstate student expelled over TikTok video

Popular Democratic Movement regional coordinator Tauno Namolo yesterday asked Alba Chipamba Training Centre to take back recently dismissed Maria Edward on grounds of appearing drunk in a video.

Edward said she was dismissed on Monday because the head of the Oshikango campus said she looked like she was drunk in her video trending on social media.

According to the dismissal letter, signed by head of the Oshikango campus Aina Kuutondokwa, Edward was also charged with refusing to comply with a rightful instruction or request by officials.

“I cannot blame them for thinking I was under the influence [of alcohol] because of the energy I was giving, but I feel like they did not judge me fairly,” she said.

She added that she expected the institution to hear her side of the story.

According to Edward’s dismissal letter, “The above student went on social media in the name of TikTok challenge in school uniform, singing along to a song appearing drunk.”

The letter added that the Alba Chipamba Training Centre disciplinary committee had made efforts to mentor the student so that she reforms and be committed to her career. However, despite all the disciplinary measures put in place, Edward allegedly refused to reform.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday, Kuutondokwa, the head of the Oshikango campus where Edward was a student, told The Namibian that she followed the rules and regulations, but that she could not comment further.

Namolo said expelling a student solely based on information from a social media app, without concrete and verified evidence, is injustice.
“While I understand the importance of maintaining a conducive learning environment, it is crucial that we uphold the principles of due process, fairness and the protection of students’ rights,” he said.

He added that as an institution responsible for shaping the minds of future professionals, it is imperative to adhere to the principles of justice and conduct thorough investigations before resorting to severe disciplinary measures.

He requested the school to provide concrete evidence and demonstrate due diligence in the investigation that led to Maria Edward’s expulsion.

“In light of these concerns, I urge the school to reconsider its decision and allow Maria Edward to return to her studies immediately,” he said, adding that the institution should review its disciplinary policies and procedures to ensure that they align with principles of fairness, justice,and the promotion of a positive learning environment.

Public figures, legal representatives and the general public have also voiced their objections to the expulsion, saying the punishment was unjust and they are advocating her reinstatement.

The Students Union of Namibia, through secretary for higher education Shikesho Natangwe, condemned the dismissal of its member without a fair trial.

“The Students Union of Namibia strongly condemns the dismissal of our member without a fair trial. We are giving the college two days to reinstate the student, failure to do so we litigate as well as lock down the campus,” he said.

Edward was dismissed from the institution due to a trending TikTok video in which she was dancing in her nursing uniform.

The charges against her include singing on social media in uniform and tarnishing the institution’s name, refusing to comply with rightful instructions and violating the nursing ethical code of conduct.

Affirmative Reposition Movement leader Job Amupanda commented on the article saying the institution must rectify her dismissal.

“Please inform them. If they know what is best for them,” he said.

Lawyer Kadhila Amoomo said the dismissal of Edward from the centre was unfair.

“It will never survive a legal challenge. Let’s be fair,” he commented on the same article.