In response to the statement by the Academic Freedom Committee, the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) would like to make the following points.
As a department tasked with communicating with different constituencies on campus, it is important that CMD engages with concerns raised by various groups, including Rhodes Must Fall (RMF).
The Molly Blackburn exhibition was a photographic review of 2015, set up for the interest of new and returning students and parents. Many of the images on display had been published previously by CMD, either online or in print.
When the exhibition was installed, RMF articulated concerns about the use of certain images. In light of these concerns and heightened tension at UCT – and on campuses across South African when registration of students was being disrupted – CMD chose to take down the exhibition.
In doing so, however, CMD requested an opportunity to engage with RMF in order to fully understand their concerns. This request was repeated to RMF in correspondence. Thus far CMD has not had a response.
CMD will continue to publish images, host exhibitions and provide multiple communication platforms in order to ensure spaces for conversation and debate.
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