Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A MIDLANDS State University (MSU) student who was caught while allegedly cheating during an examination has taken the university to court for expelling him from the institution and nullifying his results.
Prosper Makumbe was allegedly caught by an invigilator while in possession of six pieces of scrap paper containing material that was relevant to the examination. He was writing an MBA business leadership supplementary examination when the incident occurred on July 24 in 2014.
Makumbe filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order compelling MSU to reverse the nullification of his results.
In the event that the order is granted in his favour, Makumbe also wants the university to be ordered to issue him his academic certificate within 48 hours from the date of the order.
MSU wrote a letter to Makumbe on March 28 this year informing him of its decision to nullify his results following investigations by the student disciplinary committee. Makumbe allegedly breached rules of the Student Conduct and Discipline Ordinance 2 of 2014.
According to the letter signed by MSU registrar, Mr Erasmus Mupfiga, the disciplinary committee recommended Makumbe’s expulsion from the university and the nullification of his MBA 831 examination results.
Mr Mupfiga said Makumbe had previously failed the module and sought to obtain a pass through fraudulent means.
“This was a postgraduate qualification and as such you were well aware of the procedures pertaining to the examination, especially the policy of every university with regards to cheating,” reads the letter in part.
The registrar said the university would have failed in its obligation to society if it awards its degrees to cheats and failures.
“Cheating at postgraduate level should be taken more seriously since by obtaining a Masters degree, a person represents themselves as an expert, a master in their field resultantly getting senior positions in employment,” said Mr Mupfiga.
In papers before the court, the MSU was cited as the respondent.
Makumbe accused the MSU of gross misdirection when it served him with a notice and charge sheet which did not comply with its rules on student conduct and discipline. He argued that he was only given four days’ notice before the hearing date.
“The respondent grossly misdirected itself when it unreasonably delayed to conduct my hearing in violation of my constitutional right to a fair hearing as provided by section 60 of the Constitution. I submit that this honourable court has the powers to review judgments and procedural irregularities by the respondent,” said Makumbe.
He said he mistakenly brought scrap pieces of paper to the examination hall due to pressure.
“Unfortunately, I arrived about 15 minutes late into the examination hall mistakenly with scrap papers I was using for my final preparation due to exam pressure and the fact that I was already late. As soon as I sat down and pulled out my pens from the pocket the papers fell to the floor and the invigilator saw it and she approached me,” he said.
Makumbe said the invigilator took his student identity card and the scrap papers and allowed him to continue with the examination.
“I then finished the examination and the invigilator instructed me to remain behind and a security guard came with a blank paper and asked me to write a report. I was then informed that I would be called for a hearing in two weeks’ time which never happened despite numerous follow ups. My results appeared on my e-learning account as “Pass” but the respondent withheld them pending a hearing,” he said.
Makumbe said the hearing was conducted on February 26 and on August 12 he was expelled and his results were nullified.