Two University of Botswana (UB) staff members have lost a case in which they were suing the university for overlooking their rational for graduation.
Goemeone Mogomotsi, who is currently employed by UB as a senior research fellow for environmental law and policy and was up to the end of September 2018, employed as a legal officer in the department of legal services. Onthatile Moeti, who is a UB lecturer in the department of law in the faculty of social sciences.
The pair lost their case with costs after the judge said they failed to make a case.
They were suing the university after being told they had not completed the prerequisite to Master of Arts
in Development Studies after only choosing to do course work.
Delivering judgement on Tuesday, Michael Leburu said the applicants failed to make a case for the reliefs they sought.
“It is the university Senate that sets the criteria and requirements to be met by students in order to graduate. In the absence of any grounds for review, namely illegality, irrationality, unreasonableness and procedural impropriety, the decision of the Senate ought to be embraced,” he said.
Leburu explained that the application was doomed to fail particularly with regard to the relief they sought.
They want court to direct the university to confer the degree of Masters of Arts viewed within the prism of the principle of deference.
He pointed out that it was the respondents who were better placed and competent to know the requisite subjects that a student ought to do and pass, in order to graduate. “The two applicants have not amassed the requisite 12 credits from the required core courses.
At the backdrop of the case the duo wanted the university ordered to recognise them and allow them to graduate after fulfilling the prerequisite for their courses. According to their court documents, they accused the university of not sticking to the academic contract by not allowing them to graduate though they had fulfilled the required credits.
The former legal advisors were seeking court redress after not being given the clear about their graduation on the following orders, that the matter be treated as an urgent application for a declaratory order stemming from the contractual relationship of an academic nature between them and the university.
Further, an order declaring that the email of the university official dated April 11, 2018 clarifying the contractual obligations of parties was binding on the university, and therefore constituted an official interpretation of the structure of the degree of Master of Arts in Development Studies by coursework only.
Mogomotsi and Moeti also sought to obtain an urgent declaratory order confirming that they had met and satisfied the UB’s requirement for the award of the degree of Master of Arts in Development Studies.
Also they sought an order directing the university to confer the degree of Master of Arts in Development Studies to them during the first graduation ceremony of October 2019. Motsumi Attorneys represented the applicants while Mack Bahuma Attorneys appeared for the respondents.