25 October 2016
Dear colleagues and students / Dear parents, guardians and sponsors
This is an update on recent events at the University of Cape Town.
UCT Council condemns violence on campus
Members of Council have issued a statement condemning any act of violence on campus, including the assault on Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price on 14 October 2016 as well as any assault on those engaged in peaceful protest.
Read the Council statement...
Executive report on securing the campus
The priority on campus remains the completion of the academic year with minimal use of security and continuing our attempts to find a local and national resolution to the issues faced at UCT and other higher education institutions. While the engagements with protesting students have collapsed, we will continue our efforts to re-engage in the hope of making progress on key transformation issues and bringing everyone to the table. In the interim there have been ongoing disruptions of services and operations on campus by a group of protesters. This has now become an absolute threat to the institution's ability to conclude the academic year. In light of this, security has been increased to allow for a more visible presence of security officers on campus and it is hoped that disruptions on campus can be minimised. Important services like the libraries, the Jammie Shuttle service, study areas and many computer laboratories remain open in order for students to complete work and prepare for exams. When these services are closed it often impacts the students who have no alternative options (ie online access) the most. While there have been disruptions, these services have remained operational for the most part.
Universities South Africa (USAf) statement and call to action
On Sunday, 23 October, Universities South Africa, on behalf of its 26 member institutions, released a statement calling on South Africa to support universities across the country to complete the 2016 academic year.
Read the USAf statement...
Academic plans in place for conclusion of the year
All undergraduate face-to-face classes at UCT have been suspended. Alternative and mixed teaching modes are being determined by each faculty and department according to their specific needs in an attempt to conclude the year's work. Postgraduate studies that rely on classroom teaching are being delivered using alternative, mixed mode and online methods. Research- and project-based postgraduate work is being arranged on an individual basis with supervisors and course conveners.
The November 2016 exams, mini-semester and self-service deferred exams in January/February 2017
- The November exam block is set for 7–25 November 2016. (Please note that exam dates may differ for students in the Faculty of Health Sciences.)
- A mini-semester will be an option for those faculties who decide to use it, and this is scheduled for 3–20 January 2017. Faculties will decide how best to utilise this time – it does not necessarily mean that faculties will use the full three-week allocation.
- The deferred exam block is set for 23 January to 10 February 2017. Some students will want to defer their full set of exams to January 2017, while others will want to write in November but may need to defer individual exams to January.
Read more about the deferment options...
For student queries about accommodation for deferred exams, please contact Student Housing and Residence life...
Registration date and start date of classes in 2017
- Orientation and Registration for next year are scheduled for the period 27 February to 10 March.
- Classes in 2017 are set to start on 13 March 2017.
- Year-end graduation ceremonies, which are usually scheduled in the month of December, will be rescheduled. These details will be announced at a later stage.
Future in terms of SRC elections to be decided
As was reported previously, the Students' Representative Council (SRC) elections did not proceed as usual this year. The term of the current SRC will end on 31 October 2016. The relevant structures will agree the way forward and report its decisions in due course.
Proactive planning for 2017 residence intake (accommodation)
Since year-end exams had to be rescheduled, and a mini-semester as well as deferred exams had to be scheduled for January 2017, complexities may increase in terms of residence accommodation in the first months of 2017. A special team, which is being led by Professor Anwar Mall, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, is preparing plans to ensure that the matter is dealt with as proactively as possible.
Updates on faculty-specific academic arrangements
- The Faculty of Commerce posts regular frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Faculty of Commerce Facebook site as well as on departmental Vula sites...
- The Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment recently released a series of FAQs for students:
Read the EBE FAQs for undergraduates... | Read the EBE FAQs for postgraduates...
- The Faculty of Health Sciences has decided to suspend all first-, second- and third-year undergraduate teaching and learning activities for the year. The plan is to complete teaching and examinations for these students in a mini-semester in January 2017.
Read the Faculty of Health Sciences announcement...
- The Faculty of Humanities has been hosting a series of engagement sessions between staff and students across the faculty. The faculty has prepared a weekly FAQ guide in response to student questions. This document also features information on psycho-social services/resources available to students. Read the Faculty of Humanities FAQs...
In addition, the dean regularly communicates with humanities students via “From the Dean's Desk” notices, which are shared on Vula.
- The Faculty of Law has made a commitment to continue teaching in various forms.
Read the Faculty of Law announcement...
- Faculty of Science: The weeks from 19 September to 17 October 2016 that have been missed will be made up by providing the material in the form of hard copy or electronic notes. The November examinations will be based on the work covered up to and including 16 September 2016, except for a few courses in which an additional self-study week will be required and may be examined. All students have been advised of arrangements for each course.
Campus Protection Services report on recent protest incidents
- Four cars were set alight at approximately 01:40 this morning, Tuesday, 25 October. The cars were parked in Chapel Road behind Baxter residence. The University of Cape Town condemns this incident in the strongest terms. The matter is being investigated by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Campus Protection Services (CPS).
- On Monday afternoon a crowd of about 200 protesters gathered in Main Road between UCT's Meulenhof building and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Mowbray campus. The SAPS used a stun grenade to disperse the crowd. We await a report from SAPS on the incident. CPS's understanding is that three people were arrested.
- On Monday afternoon a group of about 15 people tried to enter the Senate meeting that was taking place in the Kramer Law Building. Security refused to grant them access to the meeting.
- On Monday morning it was reported that groups of students were moving from residence to residence and stopping cleaning staff from working.
- A crowd of more than 150 protesters stopped a Jammie Shuttle outside Rochester House on Monday morning and took the keys from the driver. One person has since been arrested for this behaviour.
- Campus was quiet over the weekend, with libraries and Jammie Shuttles in operation.
Views from the campus
A number of different stakeholders have shared their views on recent events at the university as well as in the higher education sector. Read these views on the UCT website...
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