Dear colleagues and students
The annual TB Davie Memorial Lecture will take place on Wednesday, 25 August. There are also several updates relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to various gender-based violence campaigns across the university during Womxn’s Month. Read more on these and other updates below.
1. Reminder: The 2021 TB Davie Memorial Lecture
The 2021 TB Davie Memorial Lecture will be presented by Professor Yunus Ballim from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.
His lecture, titled “Ours is to educate, not to captivate – teaching, learning and student development in a context of academic freedom”, encompasses the ideals of former UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Thomas Benjamin Davie, in whose honour the lecture was established 55 years ago by UCT students.
2. Information about COVID-19 testing, medical leave and vaccinations
The third wave of COVID-19 is causing an alarming rise in cases across South Africa and in the Western Cape. UCT has provided an update on the steps staff members need to take if they think they need to be tested for COVID-19 but cannot afford it or don’t know what to expect; are worried about how COVID-19 might affect their medical leave balance; or are eligible for a vaccination and would like to get one.
3. Update on COVID-19 cases
As at 15 August 2021, the university has 564 reported cases of COVID-19 among non-health sciences staff members, with 494 recoveries. The number of students who have tested positive stands at 246, with 226 recoveries. The university has lost 23 staff members and three students to the virus.
The COVID-19 third wave remains a reality. Staff and students are urged to continue contributing to preventative measures by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly with soap or using sanitizers.
Students who develop symptoms are urged to please contact Student Wellness Service or share details of their symptoms on the UCT Daily Health Screening app immediately. Students in residences who develop symptoms or are confirmed cases will be admitted to All Africa House for isolation or, if capacity does not allow, at the available facility provided by the Department of Health.
Staff members who develop any symptoms while on campus must report this immediately to their departmental COVID-19 compliance officer, who will take them to the nearest isolation facility in their building, provide them with a surgical mask and offer them optional arrangements for them to be sent to a testing facility. If they don’t have their own transport, they must contact the “UCT Transport Office for suspected COVID-19 cases” on 073 300 9556.
All staff who develop any symptoms, including those working from home, are urged to please inform their line managers for purposes of reporting to the National Institute of Occupational Health. Such staff who develop symptoms or are confirmed cases need to be quarantined at home. However, if this is not possible, staff should contact Staff Wellness or Occupational Health and Safety to assist with the available facility provided by the Department of Health.
4. OIC survivor support campaign, “Empowered Through Vulnerability” series of live engagements
Working towards establishing more inclusive spaces for survivors to feel safe and heard, the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC)’s Survivor Support Specialist, Yumna Seadat, is hosting weekly live engagements on life after sexual violence and post traumatic growth as part of the “Empowered Through Vulnerability” campaign. This consists of interviews and information sharing sessions by different expert panellists and survivors of sexual violence from the UCT Survivor Support Group. These sessions, streamed via Zoom and Instagram Live, include segments on the survivors’ lived experiences, criminal prosecution, mental health diagnosis and wellbeing (including rape trauma syndrome), myths and stigmas surrounding rape and what life is like after sexual violence and trauma. The Empowered Through Vulnerability campaign also includes the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) Post Office to Parliament campaign, online workshops and hope boards relating to SGBV and trauma awareness.
The OIC invites all survivors of SGBV, UCT students, staff, response teams as well as the public to join in the conversation.
The audience are welcome to share their experiences and contribute to the conversation through the comment section and/or unmuting.
5. Post Office to Parliament campaign
The university community is invited to participate in the Post Office to Parliament campaign which petitions Parliament to end violence against, and the exploitation of, womxn and girls. Coordinated in collaboration with the OIC, the university community is encouraged to raise their collective voice and end SGBV and femicide.
Though COVID-19 makes it difficult to come together, there is a cathartic way of putting women and young people on the national agenda by facilitating the delivery of thousands of letters from across South Africa, demanding the end of SGBV and femicide. These will be independently collected at the university and taken by representatives to Parliament on 28 August 2021. You are encouraged to submit a digital or physical letter. All submissions will be attached as a petition to be received by the Presidency.
Staff and students are encouraged to write and submit postcards by midday on 20 August at the security desk in the main library on upper campus; law library entrance desk on middle campus; library entrance desk on the Health Sciences campus; and the reception desk at the Faculty of Humanities.
Participants can also complete a digital letter/postcard.
6. Alumni in Action campaign
UCT alumni are invited to participate in a new initiative called ‘Alumni in Action’, designed to strengthen support for vulnerable students. Alumni are urged to support ‘Alumni in Action’ and make a difference where it matters the most. Working together, the alumni community can change the course of young people’s lives.
The campaign is calling on all alumni psychologists to help enhance and amplify mental health support for survivors of SGBV at UCT. ‘Alumni in Action’ was conceived by UCT alumna, Zellah Fuphe with the support of current student, Sanda Nyoka. The initiative is implemented in partnership with the Development and Alumni Department and the OIC.
7. ICTS scheduled maintenance on Sunday, 22 August
Please note that there is a scheduled maintenance slot by Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) on Sunday, 22 August from 09:00 to 17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, do not expect any ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2021 before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, etc that require ICT services. For more information, see the article on why ICTS schedules regular monthly maintenance slots.
Communication and Marketing Department
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