Council resolution on Israeli boycott and other updates

04 April 2019 | Campus Announcement

Dear students and colleagues

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

1. Council resolution on Israeli boycott

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Council, at its meeting on 30 March 2019, considered the resolution of the Senate that “UCT will not enter into any formal relationships with Israeli academic institutions operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as other Israeli academic institutions enabling gross human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. Council did not adopt this resolution of the Senate. It was the view of the Council that a number of issues required clarification, including a full assessment of the sustainability impact of the Senate resolution, and a more consultative process was necessary before the matter could be considered any further. Council resolved to refer the matter back to the Senate.

The Council separately resolved to:

  • reaffirm its commitment to supporting the rights and freedoms of all people as universally recognised under international law
  • condemn any acts that violate those rights and freedoms
  • condemn the atrocities and human rights violations perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and elsewhere in the world
  • call on all academics and academic institutions to support this resolution
  • reaffirm UCT’s commitment to academic freedom but reserve the right to dissociate itself from those academics and academic institutions that support (directly or indirectly) the violation of human rights and/or enable the violation of human rights.

2. Cyclone Idai appeal

Under the leadership of UCT Chancellor Graça Machel, the Graça Machel Trust has joined forces with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Foundation for Community Development to intensify the call to action to save lives and to meet the immediate needs of communities in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi impacted by Cyclone Idai. In a statement, the trust described the magnitude of the disaster as too immense for the three affected countries to tackle alone, highlighting the fact that the cyclone has so far claimed thousands of lives and directly impacted more than 7 million people. The three charitable organisations have collaborated to mobilise resources to contribute to both the emergency relief effort and to the process of rebuilding the lives of women, children and communities devastated by the cyclone. “We make a special appeal to our local, regional and international partners to contribute to our efforts in cash or kind,” the statement said.

3. UCT Teaching and Learning Conference

The UCT Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC2019) will take place on 11 July 2019. While teaching and research are widely recognised as the defining characteristics of universities, universities are increasingly called on, especially in the local context, to fulfil many roles. In the face of sometimes contradictory requirements – rooted in complex local and global phenomena – universities are challenged to reimagine their role in society. With this context and the changing roles of the university in mind, the theme for this year’s Teaching and Learning Conference is “Reimagining higher education: Teaching and learning for a changing world”. Applications to submit proposals for TLC2019 are now open until 29 April 2019.

4. SSISA/UCT Memorial 10 km race

All UCT students and staff are invited to participate in and support the annual Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) UCT 10 km Memorial Run taking place on and around middle campus on Sunday, 5 May 2019. Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is the ambassador for the race this year to help expose the greater UCT community to fitness, activity and friendly competition.

Registration is at 06:00 above the Kramer Law Building, middle campus. The race starts at 07:00 and ends on the Groote Schuur / Woolsack Oval. The 10 km route takes runners through campus, Newlands and Rondebosch. Entry is R100. This year the race will be dedicated to the late UCT alumnus Dr Lindsay Weight, a two-time Comrades Marathon winner and the first woman to receive a gold medal at that event.

The core aims of the 10 km race are:

  • to promote running and fitness on and around campus
  • to create a platform for alumni engagement with UCT and UCT Sport
  • to provide support for charity initiatives, including SHAWCO and the Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE) Postgraduate Student Council's Student in Distress Fund
  • to raise funds for the Lindsay Weight Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded to a promising female UCT student athlete at the end of the race.

For more information, please contact Nicholas Loxton.

5. Naming of UCT buildings

Members of the wider UCT community are invited to submit proposals to the Naming of Buildings Committee (NoBC) for the renaming of buildings on campus. Proposals can be on the following:

  • Renaming of buildings that are currently named. In this instance the proposal must be accompanied by a motivation that convincingly makes the case for why the current name should be removed and proposes a new name and motivates the rationale for adopting the new name.
  • Naming of buildings that are not currently named, such as the New Lecture Theatre.

Proposals should be sent to Please note that the committee will likely receive many proposals and as such it might not be possible for them to reply to all emails received. The cut-off for proposals is 17:00 on Friday, 19 April 2019.

6. Addressing irregular access to NBT information

The UCT Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP) was informed in late January 2019 that certain personal identifiable information of individuals who wrote their National Benchmark Tests (NBT) had been found online. The NBT system is hosted on a UCT platform. At this point UCT is confident that it has addressed the vulnerability in the configuration that appears to have been exploited to access the data. UCT remains committed to the principle of protecting personal information and will continue to take steps to secure systems and take remedial action where required.

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