Dear colleagues and students
We plan to return to face-to-face teaching on all campuses on Wednesday, 1 November 2017. Similarly, all other UCT operations, including tests, examinations and practicals, will continue as scheduled.
We thank the lecturers who have gone the extra mile to maintain teaching through non-classroom based modes and for ensuring that almost all lecture-based material was delivered. Most laboratory practicals and tests also continued. We also appreciate the extra work students have put in by adjusting to online and other teaching methods.
The executive and the Senior Leadership Group (SLG) met yesterday and committed again to the critical importance of completing the remaining eight teaching days of this term, and to successfully concluding the exams on the published dates. The SLG further resolved that there would be no blanket deferral of exams.
The executive engaged the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and student protesters over the weekend in an attempt to reach an agreement that further disruptions would not occur and that the examinations would not be disrupted. The SRC representatives expressed their commitment to end disruptions with certain conditions. We welcome that and will continue engaging on the issues students have raised.
Yesterday, we communicated to the campus that the executive had approached the Western Cape High Court seeking interdictory relief with respect to unlawful protest action. The matter was heard on an urgent basis on 30 October 2017. The court granted an interim interdict, effective immediately, the terms of which were communicated earlier.
This means that anyone found unlawfully disrupting an academic activity, setting off fire alarms, or preventing others from participating in academic activities, including preventing people from accessing the campus or lecture theatres, will be in contempt of court, which is a criminal offence. We would like to encourage students not to compromise their futures by participating in unlawful protest.
As we proceed with full operations on Wednesday, 1 November 2017, we hope that we will not need to rely on Campus Protection Services, private security or the South African Police Service to intervene in responding to any incidents. If there are no interruptions, we will have no need to deploy any security. If we face disruptions, we will attempt to deal with them as swiftly and as responsibly as possible. Where protesters engage in unlawful action, we will investigate the matter and, if appropriate, criminal charges and disciplinary action will be brought against those responsible.
At the suggestion of its SRC members, Senate on Thursday, 26 October 2017, agreed to hold a university assembly to discuss various models and positions on free education in South Africa. This assembly, co-hosted with the SRC, will be held on Wednesday afternoon, 1 November, (time to be confirmed) on the Jammie Plaza. All staff and students are encouraged to attend. Various speakers will give their viewpoints on the matter and address issues that will be important in responding to the leaked Fees Commission report. This will be an opportunity for the university community to come together in making a very public statement about the funding of higher education at a critical time, just before the release of the report. As a place of debate and thought leadership, UCT needs to offer solutions to the problem of financial barriers to higher education, and to share ideas to address the sustainability of a high quality university sector.
Communication and Marketing Department
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