A student in Kenya has been suspended for one year after being accused of ranting against his college on social media.
Cyprian Nyakundi, a student of actuarial science at the Meru University College of Science and Technology (MUCST), according to a post by Kenyan blogger Dennis Itumbi, used his Twitter and Facebook accounts to post the following:
- “There are not enough chairs and we have to carry chairs (from block) AA to the workshop (which is too far)”
- “At the Cafeteria, students scramble for food because the population of admission compared to resources budgeted is too high”
- “The road from the University to the Nchiru town, which is the nearest is very dusty”
- “The Library is not updated and the books are outdated, with no infusion of books that address modern challenges of the professions we are being ready for in class”
- “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”
Cyprian said after this he was summoned to appear before the university’s disciplinary committee to answer to charges of ‘tarnishing the Image of the University through the use of social media’.
Nyakundi was found guilty and suspended for one academic year with effect from September 26, 2012.
After learning of Nyakundi’s ordeal, Kenyans have taken to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #LetNyakundiTweet pleading for his freedom of speech.
In an exclusive interview with HumanIPO, Nyakundi had this to say.
What is the most important thing for you right now?
To be reinstated back to school unconditionally. They May Persecute me, but I will be vigilant and I will not let that happen, I have a right.
What fueled you into using social media? Aren’t there other appropriate channels you could have used?
Social media as well as mainstream, my Facebook and Twitter account (@C_Nyakundi) have many followers and it was an avenue of sharing issues with hope that we could be heard as a visionary group as compared to traditional ways that are lengthy.
Do you have your family’s support?
After explaining the story to my family and what led to the events, they have understood me and are very supportive. They hope that the university reinstates me.
Are you angry? What’s your attitude towards the suspension?
I’m not angry but disappointed and shocked , my attitude towards the suspension is that I see it as unfair and harsh.
Is there anything that the public doesn’t know and that could have led to the suspension?
Concerning this, I also found my suspension to be too hasty which raises questions. What I can say is that there is increased intolerance to social Media but it cannot be ignored . It should be used to make society a better society to live in as it has got good ideas as they say ” ideas whose time has come.”
What’s your message to the world?
To accept criticism and to respect opinions, they are the shapers of the modern society and good opinion lives.
The influence and disaster of social media is not about to die anytime soon. In some countries, employees have lost their jobs while in others, liberation has been found through social media’s outreach.
This is not the first time Kenyans have landed into trouble over social media with the most popular victim being blogger Robert Alai. Alai has an ongoing case in the Kenya law courts for linking former Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua to murder.
Students in the Meru University are now wary of the consequences of using Twitter and Facebook, a thing that was once “cool.” When contacted for comments, the college’s administration declined to give any stating the matter was settled.