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‘I was judged unfairly’ – student dismissed over TikTok video

Maria Edward (18) yesterday said she was judged unfairly after she was dismissed from the Alba Chipamba Training Centre, where she was studying nursing because of a trending video on TikTok in which she is dancing in her uniform.

Edward said she was dismissed on Monday because the head of the Oshikango campus said she looked like she was drunk in her trending video 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 rightful instructions or requests 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 was expecting the institution to hear her side of the story.

“They were at least supposed to listen to my side of the story and at least hear me out,” she said.

Edward said on Monday Kuutondokwa asked her about the video.

“And then she went on to say that I must not try to defend myself and tell her what actually happened. I told her that I shared the video around February on my status and it was not done with the intention of having it out for everybody. It was meant for the few people in my contacts,” she said.

She added that she took the video in her grandmother’s car on her way from school and she was drinking Coca-Cola and listening to music.

“She did not want to listen to my side of the story and she said I was trying to make myself famous as the video is on TikTok. I told her that I do not even have a TikTok account,” she added.

Kuutondokwa allegedly went on to say if she were to show someone else the video, he/she would think Edward was drunk or she had done drugs.

She added that the video was shared by a friend and that is how it got out, but it was through a friend of a friend.

According to Edward’s dismissal letter, “The above student went on social media in the name of a 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, Kuutondokwa, the head of the Oshikango campus where Edward was a student, told The Namibian that she followed the rules and regulations and cannot comment further.

“I don’t think I will attend to your questions. We just follow our rules and regulations. Maybe you will have to call our head office and our board of directors,” Kautondokwa said.

Namibian National Students Organisation (Nanso) spokesperson Dorthea Nangolo said there was malice in Edward’s expulsion from the institution.

“Her dismissal was not legal. Firstly, she was not afforded a hearing and we don’t think they interpreted the code of conduct properly,” Nangolo said.

Nangolo added that the video was shot in a private place, not in a bar or a shebeen.

“Secondly, she’s not the one who posted that video on social media. Her friend was the one who posted the video on social media,” she said.

She added that all these things show that she was not violating any rules and Nanso cannot conclude that she should be expelled. She said Nanso is getting her legal assistance to challenge the dismissal.