Dear students and colleagues
This campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town community about:
1. Disruptions to catering services in residences
UCT has experienced several disruptions to residence catering services recently. The disruptions have been caused by some staff in the kitchens and, more recently, by some students who have entered and disrupted kitchens. The disruptions have taken place against the backdrop of ongoing engagement with staff representatives about future trade union recognition and various grievances about working conditions following insourcing. It is important to understand the facts around the working conditions.
2. Migration of www.uct.ac.za
The main UCT website (www.uct.ac.za) has been migrated into the official UCT web content management system (Drupal), hosted at the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) Department. It is scheduled to go live on Friday, 26 May 2017. The project team has engaged with a number of constituencies regarding the move of the main website and particularly the redesign, to ensure that the site retains all of its critical information while alleviating some of the current challenges. The main website will remain at www.uct.ac.za. Quick-link icons to information for staff, students, alumni and the latest news have been created on the home page for ease of access. If you visit www.uct.ac.za after it goes live, you may need to clear your browser cache in order to view the site in its new format. A number of the most important URLs of the old site will be redirected to ensure that users find the information they are looking for. To assist with this, the new main site contains numerous links to the websites dedicated to applicants, students and staff. Google will not index these sites immediately, and the sites’ searches will not work initially. If your department or unit owns or publishes documents referencing the old website, please ensure that you change those links to the new URLs. The new sites will be fully responsive on all devices.
3. Draft policy on mental health
UCT recognises that persons with mental health disabilities have been subject to multiple forms of marginalisation and exclusion, and that it is imperative that higher education puts measures in place to redress the inequalities and disadvantages created by prejudice and discrimination against those with mental health disabilities. For this reason, the Mental Health Task Team is circulating a draft Mental Health Policy for comment. The purpose of the policy is to help provide an inclusive education for all, welcome diversity and promote equal opportunities for students to develop to their full potential.
4. Crime on the rise in and around campus
Crime is a concern across South Africa and it affects everybody. Although UCT is an open campus, it has a relatively low level of crime incidents compared to other areas. UCT spends millions annually on security. Our Campus Protection Services (CPS) operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, out of six service centres on our campuses.
Some UCT properties, including student residences, are in residential areas that are currently experiencing higher crime levels, as confirmed by the South African Police Service (SAPS). UCT’s Safety & Violence Initiative (SaVI) reports that in and around UCT campuses this year, there have been 36 reported cases of robbery and attempted robbery of students and staff as of 22 May 2017. This is a 12.5% increase in reported robberies compared to the same period in 2016 (32 cases). This increase is a worrying trend and UCT is working with the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District and SAPS to understand the circumstances and to strengthen security measures. Please report any suspicious activity to the nearest Campus Protection Services (CPS) officer. You can also phone the CPS emergency numbers printed on the back of your UCT card: 021 650 2222/3.
Safety guidelines are available to help you minimise the risk of crime when walking to and from campus. Please read the SaVI report as it will assist you in understanding the crime situation.
5. Candidates for DVC: Teaching & Learning to present this week
The process for appointing a Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching & Learning is under way. Presentations and interviews by several candidates to representatives of various constituencies are scheduled to take place on 29 and 30 May.
6. Please reconsider the next time you turn on the tap
Cape Town’s dams are running dangerously low and the Western Cape has been declared a disaster area as a result. Water restrictions are in force. Everyone on campus is asked to help UCT save this precious resource during this critical time. The executive has agreed to appoint a special task team to look at UCT’s water usage and to plan UCT’s response to this issue.
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