Draft Student Mental Health Policy and other updates

04 December 2017 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town community about:

1. The draft Student Mental Health Policy

The Mental Health Task Team (MHTT) has drafted the Student Mental Health Policy and has held consultations on it with an open assembly meeting in May 2017, faculty boards (of all faculties), the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee, the College of Wardens, the Residence Forum, the Residence Committee, the University Student Affairs Committee, the Student Parliament and the 2016/17 Students’ Representative Council (SRC).

The MHTT will consider proposals to the draft policy and then submit an amended draft to the 2017/18 SRC, the Vice-Chancellor’s Management Advisory Group, the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), Senate (via the SEC) and to Council. The policy is expected to be finalised in the March 2018 governance meetings of the SEC, Senate and Council. There is still time to comment on the policy, and you are invited to submit written comments to Ingrid Smith.

2. The completion of exams

The registrar and the executive would like to thank all students for their cooperation during this exam period, which was successfully concluded on 30 November. While there may have been some understandable anxiety initially about the alternative exam venue arrangements, the overwhelming majority of students sat for their exams. It was critically important that students had the opportunity to take their exams and conclude their academic programmes for 2017. The registrar and the executive would like to extend a very big thank you to the staff of UCT, across all of the faculties and professional departments, for the massive contribution they have made individually and collectively to ensure a successful exam season.

Final exams at UCT comprised 35 total exam sessions held in eight venues, with 61 186 total exam sittings involving 1 695 invigilators and 592 courses (including 365 students who wrote a total of 1 956 exams at Disability Services). The exam day with the most students writing was 27 November with 5 408 students; the day with the fewest students writing was 21 November with 3 908 students.

3. Exam deferment

Students wishing to defer an exam are reminded to follow the deferment procedure.

Students who want to apply for deferred exams are invited to attend any of the Student Wellness Service (SWS) service sites. The key points about this service and the SWS operating hours are listed in the Department of Student Affairs notice.

Students who are known to SWS for prior medical and psychological therapy will not need to be reassessed for purposes of the deferred exams application. They may fill out the SWS DE001 form after completing Sections A and B only, and hand the form to the SWS practitioner or email it to Ingrid Smith. If a student is in need of therapy, they will be clinically assessed and assisted.

4. Graduation on 20 December 2017

About 1 420 qualifiers, including about 110 PhDs, are expected to receive their degrees during three ceremonies on Wednesday, 20 December. The relevant ceremonies will be held as follows:

  • 09:00 Commerce
  • 14:00 Health Sciences
  • 18:00 EBE/Humanities/Law/Science.

UCT will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Justice Yvonne Mokgoro at the 18:00 ceremony.

5. Appointment of Special Advisor for Strategic Relations and Projects

Mr Thando Tsotsobe has been appointed as Special Advisor for Strategic Relations and Projects in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor (OVC) until December 2018. While based in the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO), Mr Tsotsobe has been assisting in this role on a part-time basis since the beginning of 2017, initially focusing on student relations through the Special Executive Task Team (SETT). He has now been seconded to the OVC on a full-time basis, effective from 1 September 2017. The role entails advisory, not executive functions. Mr Tsotsobe draws on a wealth of institutional knowledge, having worked at UCT for some 20 years in faculty offices, Student Admissions, the Department of Finance and most recently in IAPO. He has been a co-opted member of Senate for the past six years and is a member of the Institutional Forum.

6. A request for help from SAPS

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is investigating an arson attempt in the Computer Sciences building on 11 November 2017. Images of two individuals who were in the vicinity have been made available. SAPS is asking members of the UCT community for help in identifying these two individuals in case they might have witnessed anything that could be material to the case. Anyone with information on the identity of these two people, or on any other aspect of this case, are requested to contact Steven Ganger.


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