7 years ago, it was beer and now kissing has been banned in the University of Zimbabwe. This was detailed in a circular issued to students which stated that those caught kissing would face a costly disciplinary action which has been categorically outlined to be immediate eviction from halls of residence. The ban was instituted at the beginning of the academic year and is among the list of misconducts in the university campus that attracts immediate eviction.
Apart from kissing within the 4 walls of Harare campus of the University of Zimbabwe, there are 11 other misconducts on the list which can attract immediate eviction including “loitering in dark places” and “harboring a squatter” – see scanned copy of the circular below
Specifically, the rules forbid students to be “caught in an intimate position, kissing or having sex in public places”.
Since kissing was included in the ban, it has sparked a lot of arguments among students and a student representative has described it to BBC as “nonsensical”
“In this age, to say I’m no longer allowed to kiss or hug someone… is unreasonable,” Tsitsi Mazikana said.
The students’ gender representative, Ms Mazikana said that the University already follows strict rules especially as it regards having anything to do with the opposite sex for instance, visitors of single sex hostels are permitted only in the foyer and at a time not beyond 10:00 pm. He said that the essence of the ban was not entirely to enforce morality but was more about exerting more influence on those who were “not happy about the way they are running the university”.
She went on to say “If they were talking about anything moral they wouldn’t be placing condoms in the hostels and in the clinic, but… kissing and hugging – there’s nothing immoral about that,”
The news has not been well received by ZINASU (Zimbabwe National Students Union) who said that the institution had a habit of making up and establishing irrational rules without consulting any of the student bodies.
There were already other strict rules that were introduced in 1997 by the premier university which restricts students rights to demonstrate and has imbibed the fear of being expelled among students however, the students union aims to organize a petition against the newly introduced kissing ban.
The university has not made any comment on students’ displeasure and objections to the new ruling.