UCT today: Bulletin 2

22 October 2015 | From the VC’s Desk

Dear colleagues and students,

UCT remained closed today, and will be closed tomorrow (Friday 23 October 2015).

A mass meeting attended by thousands of members of the University was held on the plaza today.

Herewith some points I made and in addition key other decisions:

  1. I (and other Vice-Chancellors) will be meeting the President and his Ministers in Pretoria tomorrow and will demand decisive State intervention to ensure that there is no fee increase for students in need in 2016.

  2. The University Council will meet this weekend after the meeting with the President and his Ministers. I will put to Council proposals aimed at ensuring that students in need do not face a fee increase in 2016; and in addition that UCT comprehensive financial aid package for students in need remains in place.

  3. I have postponed the set of University examinations that was due to start on 27 October 2015. The October/November exam session will thus not start next week. We will set a new date for the start of the exam session in consultation with staff and students. [1]

  4. While I believe the interdict on Monday was an appropriate and necessary action to take at that time, it has been misunderstood to be a charge against individuals and organisations, whereas it is in fact only a requirement that people act lawfully. It has also become encumbered with connotations of brutality and police action. This was certainly not intended, as its purpose was to protect the rights of those writing exams and wishing to access the campus. I believe that it is possible to propose lifting the interdict (it is actually imposed and lifted by a court, not by the University) as an act of good faith on the understanding that protest will remain peaceful, lawful, respectful of the rights of all, and within acceptable limits. We have set this in motion.

  5. Although many students were arrested on Monday night for unlawfully occupying the Bremner building, they were all released without charge. On Tuesday, 23 people were arrested for barricading parts of the campus. They have been charged by the police (not by UCT), and we have undertaken to work with the police and prosecutor to have the charges withdrawn.

  6. In an earlier briefing, I had planned an open forum engagement for members of the University. In view of today's mass meeting, and the fact that I must go to the President's meeting in Pretoria tomorrow I have decided to postpone the open forum until early next week.

Max Price

22 October 2015

[1] Where a departmentally arranged exam was to have been held at an earlier date, arrangements will be made for those who did not arrive for such exams to write/take the exam at a later date.

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