UCT must move faster and more decisively to thoroughly transform the institution Advocate Rod Solomons (pictured above), national vice–president of the UCT Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA), said at a panel discussion the association hosted in the Kramer Building last night.
Although he congratulated Vice–Chancellor Dr Max Price and his team on a "myriad of transformation initiatives", he said there was much to be done to repair discord and alienation at the institution.
The session provided another platform for the ongoing debate and discussion on equity, admissions, policies and outsourcing, issues raised in the wake of protests at the university around the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, seen as a symbol of oppression, discrimination and colonialism.
Alumna and Associate Professor of African Literature at Wits University Pumla Gqola chaired the session. Panelists included Vice–Chancellor Dr Max Price; founder and chair of the Sekunjalo Group and executive chair of Independent News and Media, Dr Iqbal Survé; senior lecturer in the psychology department, Dr Shose Kessi; and Student Representative Council president, Ramabina Mahapa.
Solomons said he was encouraged by the student activism on campus and the impetus this framework had provided in "propelling the university leadership to grapple with matters they would rather have dealt with in their own time".
"Students must ask uncomfortable questions of society and rattle the cages. Institutions for higher learning are supposed to be incubators for precisely that. The only parameter in which they must operate is our constitutional democracy that provides a framework for how all of us must interact."
He said the university would find UCTABA a critical but supportive partner (its members have already raised some R1 million towards bursaries, for example) as it moved towards becoming a transformed institution. "... but we will insist that it picks up the pace and does this in a fundamental way so that the university becomes a better place for all who work, study and teach at it."
Story by Helen Swingler. Image by Roger Sedres.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Please view the republishing articles page for more information.