Letters to the Editor

23 November 2009

Your reporters correctly quoted my speech (Vol 28#16) at the cocktail function for the participants in the New Academic Practitioners Programme (NAPP), when I stated that the NAPP started off as a programme for historically disadvantaged staff. Subsequently, however, I was informed that this was not the case. In fact, NAPP is not now and never was intended to target historically disadvantaged staff. It was started in 2004 in response to long-overdue recognition that the nature of the academic job had grown more complex and increasingly professionalised, and that all staff entering academic life for the first time need guidance to understand and learn to navigate these complexities in their roles as teachers, researchers and members of institutions under transformation. It is important that all new academic staff appreciate the value of participating in the NAPP.

Dr Max Price

I would like to respond to the letter from 'UCT driver' in the Monday Paper (Vol28#15) about Jammie Shuttle drivers.

I found the letter deeply disrespectful and disgusting, as if this 'UCT driver' owns the roads at this public sector institution and all people should make way for his or her car. What disgusting entitlement. Jammie Shuttles should have right of way almost always - they transport those without cars; those who need the transport.

It's true that the Jammie drivers are sometimes reckless and sometimes don't keep to schedule. It's also true that other workers at UCT don't clean properly or leave rubbish lying around or even simply work negligently. However, many academic staff also work with the same negligence - and many students, too. In fact, many staff members and students act with such entitlement (in teaching and being taught) that it makes sense for some workers sometimes also to act with entitlement.

These workers are the ones who, every day, clean the campus, transport students and staff, safeguard UCT, maintain UCT, make and serve food, and surely and actively allow the everyday running of UCT as an institution. Should they not also be entitled or do they rank lower than staff members and students? Has this 'UCT driver' never seen a staff member or student driving recklessly at UCT?

Having said this, I wonder if the anonymous 'UCT driver' ever stopped to think about what it is like to drive a Jammie Shuttle all day. I wonder if this person can look deeper and imagine what it is like to be a worker at UCT, let alone drive a bus. I also wonder if this person knows that these Shuttle drivers have (again) been threatened with losing their jobs at UCT.

Sure, safety is a concern, but for whom, and whose safety? Do you wonder about the safety of yourself or are you able to look deeper at the reasons behind Shuttle drivers' recklessness? Can such a 'UCT driver' see or even imagine this reality faced every day by the Shuttle drivers and other workers at UCT?

Matthew Grant
(This letter has been shortened.)

I am writing this letter in response to my being awarded a UCT student leader award for my work within the UCT Surgical Student Society. (Monday Paper Vol 28#15)

I believe that the success of the UCT Surgical Society cannot be attributed only to myself, and am thus writing this letter both to honour and to pay tribute to the wonderful team that I have been privileged to work alongside and learn from this year. They are the real reasons for the success and growth of the society this year. Each individual in the team of 2009 has infused passion, hard work, dedication and camaraderie into the daily running of the Society, and this, coupled with strong teamwork and good friendships, has helped make the Society the success it has become. It has been a great privilege to work and learn alongside this remarkable group of highly motivated and capable young people - an experience that I am very grateful for.

I thus would like to pay special tribute to this very special "Superteam" who I truly believe are the real deserving recipients of my award.

In addition to the above, I would sincerely also like to thank Professor Del Kahn, head of the UCT Department of Surgery and Patron of the Society, to whom the society is greatly indebted, for all his guidance, support and inspiration.

David-Mordechai Favara
Outgoing Chairperson: UCT Surgical Society

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