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South Sudanese student union in Uganda defends membership fees

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April 10, 2014 (KAMPALA) – The Cavendish University Union of South Sudanese Students Association (CUUSSSA) in Uganda says that membership fees are to support the organisation’s activities and are for the beneficiary of the students union.

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Some South Sudanese students attending Cavendish University in Uganda have questioned the amount charged for union membership fees

The union has defended its membership charge after a group of students from Cavendish University said they would boycott paying the contribution, saying it was too high.

The union charges 15,000 Ugandan shillings for student legibility, which provides recognition from the union and the South Sudan embassy in Uganda.

In an inclusive interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, union chief Peter Manas Kuol clarified that the issue of registration was a yearly contribution among students across Uganda.

Kuol has dismissed claims by some South Sudanese students that union leaders and the embassy of circulating a policy of registration.

Kuol says the union has a policy of reviewing individual circumstances, including those who are unable to afford registration fees.

“We know if someone is not affording to register himself - we have special consideration to that student that is affected,” he said.

“We have a registration committee that deals with those issues and we just raise that issue and we can deal with the situation,” he added.

The union chairman says that according to its policy students are required to pay a recurring fee of 5,000 shillings per student per semester.

However, Kuol said there was assistance available to those experiencing financial hardship.

“We help sometimes when students [have] fallen into trouble in their academic [studies]” and are unable to pay school fees, he said.

He said about 64 students were assisted in attending exams after the union body lobbied the university’s administration.

Kuol told Sudan Tribune the formation of the association provides a platform for South Sudanese students to interact among themselves in order to overcome any challenges they may face while studying abroad.

Gabriel Majok Maker, a student union committee member, says the organisation also helps students to exercise their leaderships skill through rallies and public discussions.

Alphaeur Kuot Gabriel, who is also a union member, has defended the fees, saying the charges covered the running cost of union activities and were not profit-driven.

“CUUSSSA being a South Sudanese association in Cavendish is our lead association in term of affairs as South Sudanese. So when we elected our leaders we expect them to operate [the organisation] … we don’t expect them [to] operate using their own moneys,” he said.

Gabriel said union members are expected to provide contributions to ensure their affairs are managed, and that the charging of fees is a normal procedure for any organisation.

Union members say the payment of registration membership fees also helps fund graduation parties and Thanksgiving celebrations for South Sudanese students.

(ST)

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