17 November 2015
Dear colleagues and students
We acknowledge that the UCT community seeks access to the latest information as soon as possible.
To keep up to date with campus activities and new information, we encourage you to visit UCT's website and Facebook page regularly and to follow the official UCT Twitter account, @UCT_News.
Here for your information and convenience, is the latest update.
- DISRUPTION OF EXAMS ON MONDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2015: Exam sessions have all been completed successfully and without incident since the start of exams last week, unfortunately though yesterday, at around 17h00 there was an attempt to disrupt an exam at the Sports Centre on Upper Campus. A group of between 15 and 20 protesters with their faces covered smashed glass windows and doors at the Sports Centre in an attempt to gain entry. Members of the campus protection services prevented the protesters from entering the venue but the protesters threw faeces onto the floor before fleeing. After a break in the exams being written (during which disinfectant was used to deal with the stench from the faeces) the exams continued. An extension of time to the exam was granted. Two protesters were arrested and taken to the Police station where charges were brought against them. If they are UCT students they may face additional internal disciplinary charges that may lead to expulsion.
- OPTION TO DEFER EXAMS: This option remains open until 27 November 2015. Students may write exams now in November 2015 or in January 2016. Please see the information sheet about exams HERE.
- INCIDENT OF ALLEGED RAPE/SEXUAL HARASSMENT: UCT is aware of and has responded to the allegations of an alleged sexual assault/rape in a building on its campus early on Monday, 16 November 2015. We have activated the necessary support services to assist those involved in the incident. A charge has been laid with the Police. A UCT senior investigator has been assigned to investigate all the aspects of the case and is working closely with the police. A male student was this morning arrested by the Police and taken into custody. It is important that due legal process is allowed to unfold. We discourage students from discussing details of this case on social media as it may interfere with the legal process. Last evening a group of students threatened to 'deal' with the alleged perpetrator themselves. This is to be condemned. Please understand that if you make yourself guilty of such actions you will face criminal charges yourself. Please allow for the appropriate legal process to unfold. We encourage anyone with information about this particular case to email Steven Ganger or contact him by telephone on 021 650 2222/3. We ask everyone to consider the fact that rape and sexual assault is a dreadful reality for citizens of our country. It is therefore important to treat the matter with utmost seriousness, and within due process.
- LIBRARY FACILITIES AND CAMPUS SERVICES: All services and facilities on campus are open and operational. This includes the library, Jammie Shuttle, and student housing catering. During yesterday evening's attempted disruption of the exams in the Sports Centre, the library was closed briefly to protect the students inside, but was reopened shortly thereafter. The measures taken to secure exams remain in place and will not be relaxed. The campus security team is continuing its 24-hour vigilance of UCT campuses and the safety of our students remains paramount.
- STUDENT HOUSING: There have been some questions about how long students can remain in Student Housing. Students are allowed to remain in residence until 28 November 2015. We encourage you to contact Student Housing at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: The International Education Association of SA, of which UCT is an active member, has been lobbying the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of international students affected by the national protests. As a result of productive meetings with officials from the DHA, a letter from the DHA has recently been issued to authorise the extension of the stay, up until 31 December 2015, for students whose study permits would have expired before they could complete their examinations as a result of the weeks of student protests. International students who are affected are asked to please email Yanga Gqirana of IAPO who is compiling a list of students affected by the national protests. A document was also signed by DHA providing new guidelines related to the last date of studies, i.e. the last day of visa validity. It is now possible for the validity of visas to be extended after the graduation of students. It also provides for one month of vacation time for SSA students. This will apply to all students who have already requested a visa renewal.
Executive Director: Communication & Marketing Department