The Islamic University in Uganda has suspended 23 students on allegations of engaging in sexual relationships contrary to the institution's regulations.
The decision against the students undertaking different courses was taken by the disciplinary committee at the Mbale campus.
The university coordinator, Dr Sulait Kabali, who also doubles as secretary of the disciplinary committee, told the Daily Monitor on Monday that the students were found guilty of breaching rules and regulations.
“The students were found guilty of coupling and having sex on campus, which is contrary to the university rules and regulations," Dr Kabali said, adding that others were also found guilty of theft of property, consuming alcohol and other narcotic drugs, pregnancy and staging acts of violence on the campus.
According to the letter dated April 14, 2018, which the Daily Monitor saw, the students were found in the dark corners on different occasions, engaging in love affairs.
“During the cross-examining to which you were subjected at the above disciplinary sub-committee and basing on your oral and written submission in which you stated that you were found in darkness engaging in love affairs, you were found guilty of having committed the above stated offence hence having violated the above cited rule,” reads the letter addressed to the suspended students.
Dr Kabali said the suspension, which will last for one year, should act as a strong warning to other students, adding that the university administration would not hesitate to expel any student who breaches the rules and regulation.
The suspended students, who included finalists, were about to sit for their examinations, which started Monday.
The affected students were given one week to appeal and Ms Rehema Katono, the public relations officer, acknowledged that the disciplinary committee would soon sit again to examine any appeals.
One of the affected students, who preferred anonymity for fear that his appeal may be jeopardised, said disciplinary committee was too harsh in its judgment.
“I find it so astonishing that the committee based its judgment on an offence I committed two years ago when I had just joined campus. The punishment is too harsh,” he said.
The Muslim university with several campuses is governed by sharia.
It offers courses at certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
According to Ms Katono, any student interested in sexual relationship should apply to the Dawah committee to be allowed to marry officially.
But even as a married couple, you are not allowed to hug, kiss at campus or sit with someone of the opposite sex for more than 10 minutes without a third party.
There is also no free mixing at the university between female and male students during lectures and on the compound.