Notes from council

06 October 2008

The Senate met in mid-August, and Council's Executive Committee in September 2008.

Senate's August meeting was presided over by the new Vice-Chancellor, Dr Max Price, for the first time; taking the chair (and seated in the chair used by the Chair of Senate, a gift from the University of the Witwatersrand to UCT in 1979 on the occasion of UCT's sesquicentennial celebration), he remarked that he was another Wits gift to UCT!

Senate (subject to subsequent clarification by the Senate Executive Committee, which has since been obtained) adopted important proposals on the structure of the examination timetable: in future, both to ensure a better spread of examinations and to provide the necessary reasonable accommodation for religious observance, undergraduate examinations will not be held on Fridays during the June and November examination periods.

Senate noted a report on some issues that arise from the decision of the Academics Association to disband in favour of the establishment of a trade union, known as the Academics Union. Several issues, including membership, agreement on bargaining unit(s), and the details of a recognition agreement, are still to be resolved.

The Council Exco meeting was dominated by preliminary discussions on the levels of fees for tuition and student housing for 2009. Exco is conscious of the pressures facing fee payers on the one hand, and the budget demands and cost increases facing university departments on the other. The October Council meeting will be asked to consider the university budgets for 2009, including fee levels. It will also have on its agenda important proposals for the envisaged two new buildings: the middle campus academic building (for economics) and the lower campus student administration building (for student services and ICTS).

The long-standing unresolved issue of a new joint agreement to regulate the partnership between UCT and the Province for the teaching hospitals and the Faculty of Health Sciences continues to enjoy Exco's attention, as does the urgent need to secure new leases on four buildings that UCT leases from the provincial government.

Finally, Exco and Senate have resolved (for the present) rules regulating amplified sound on the plaza during the meridian: this attempts to balance student organisations' plans and desires for types of activity on the plaza that require or are enhanced by amplified sound, and the work of staff and students in surrounding buildings (including the libraries) that is made impossible by amplified sound; or, put differently, to find room for important aspects of the informal curriculum that is so necessary a part of a UCT student's experience, without unduly disrupting the teaching and learning activities that are the formal curriculum.

Notes provided by Registrar Hugh Amoore

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