Equity and irony, by Tharana Patten

21 May 2007

Prof Hall's politically correct speech in the recent debate about Affirmative Action revealed some things that may not be adding up. Some of us wonder if policies are really what they appear to be, in sections 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, of UCT's Employment equity policy and in the less detailed Admissions policy preambles. How can an institution claiming to foster equity fail to provide basic facilities for some?

For about two years, the Disability Unit has been saying that there is a crisis concerning disabled parking bays as there are far less bays than required. How can such a situation be passable at a world-class university concerned about the integration of disabled staff and students? Putting aside the already existing UCT disabled population, it also means that no provisions exist for people with a temporary injury and in need of special parking. Parking spaces may be morphing into new residences but there remains an ever-growing problem concerning parking, staff bays included. It is true that a residence is largely more profitable than a parking lot, but I doubt our institution would admit that this is a more pressing concern of theirs.

It seems implausible that applicants with certain disabilities could be considered at all under the current circumstances. Is it a tacit endeavour to curb the number of disabled students at the institution? Will UCT need to employ new admission procedures and classify disabled applicants to admit fewer of those who might need parking in the future?

Tharana Patten

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