After eight months of dormancy due to the academic freedom stalemate, Chancellor College opened on Monday and the 2011 academic year will consequently end on 14th July, 2012.
In a communiqué dated 13th November 2011 released to students by College’s management through Assistant Registrar, Chancellor College “will restart the academic calendar for 2011 in week five,” that is starting from 14th November 2011.
The first semester, which started Monday, will run till 18th February 2012 while the second semester will start on 17th March, 2012, with classes beginning on 19th March, and will end on 14th July 2012.
As regards to the pending first years, the communiqué indicates that 15th September 2012 will mark the arrival of first years on campus. While the 5th October, 2012 and 8th October, 2012 will officially mark the registration process and beginning of classes for 2012 academic year respectively.
Chancellor College has since February this year witnessed a protracted legal and verbal battle between University Council and lecturers over academic freedom.
The origins of the crisis dates to February 12 when political science lecturer, Dr. Blessings Chinsinga, had drawn parallels between causes of protests in the Arab world and Malawi’s foreign currency and fuel problems to illustrate a point during class. A student in the class reported the matter to the Inspector General of Police, Peter Mukhito, who summoned Chinsinga for interrogation.
Lectured demanded an apology from Mukhito and an assurance of academic freedom. President Bingu wa Mutharika stepped in and declared that the Inspector General would not apologise, Lecturers decided to boycott classes, citing fear of spies, a relic from the one-party regime that ended in 1994.
The University Council then dismissed four lecturers, including Chinsinga, Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula, the union’s legal advisor Dr Garton Kamchedzera and Franz Amin, General Secretary of CCASU.
There have been several court sessions on various aspects of the crisis, but the matter has now come to rest on the firing of the four.