Taking action against SGBV and other updates

25 August 2021 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues and students

On a week when the University of Cape Town is marking the second anniversary of the murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana and just days after University of Fort Hare student Nosicelo Mtebeni was killed – both due to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) – UCT is involved in two SGBV campaigns. Read more on this and other updates below.

1. What action are you taking against SGBV?

The country is once again reeling and shocked following the gruesome murder of University of Fort Hare Law student Nosicelo Mtebeni. Just two years ago, the UCT community was left devasted following the rape and murder of Humanities student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

This year, the university community is encouraged to raise their collective voice and end SGBV by participating 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 Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC), the campaign is championed by the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation.

The OIC also currently runs the “Empowered Through Vulnerability” survivor support series. These are weekly live engagements on life after sexual violence and post-traumatic growth, featuring input by expert panellists and survivors of sexual violence from the UCT Survivor Support Group. These sessions are streamed via Zoom and Instagram Live. Everyone is welcome to participate.

2. Update on repairs after the #UCTFire

All salvage activities following the fire of April 2021 have been concluded and the Special Collections basement has been cleared of materials. A temporary roof has been manufactured and will be installed over the Jagger Library Reading Room by the end of August 2021.

Limited access has been granted to the Department of Biological Sciences staff and researchers, subject to current lockdown constraints. The teaching laboratories on levels one to four are expected to be repaired in the second half of 2021, while the level five Plant Conservation Unit will be repaired in 2022.

Initial findings for the Upper Campus and Fuller Hall residences suggested that 80% of these two residences were usable. Most students returned to them on 7 May 2021, while approximately 50 students remain in alternative accommodation. Most of the repair work is now completed, including most of the roof tiling, with all internal repairs completed.

UCT Maintenance is managing repairs to the following areas: AC Jordan, Botany Glass House, Molecular & Cell Biology, RW James, Maintenance Place, Maths, Tennis Club and the Sports Centre, as well as to street lighting and electrical cables damaged by the fire.

3. Safety on campus

UCT became aware of safety concerns around certain areas on campus via social media earlier this week. In light of the concerns raised, Campus Protection Services (CPS) agreed to increase visibility and vehicular patrols. The following measures are in place:

  • A mobile kiosk has been moved to the corner of Avenue and Matopo Road in order to monitor vehicular movement in this space.
  • CPS has increased foot patrols to a more regular routine down Avenue Road and towards Rhodes Avenue.
  • Groote Schuur Community Improvement District will increase vehicular patrols.
  • Security staff at Avenue Road residence and Cadbol House will be more visible on Avenue Road side.

4. #ForWomxnByWomxn

In commemorating Women’s Month, UCT Vice‑Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng hosted a special virtual event earlier this month. Miss South Africa 2020 and international relations honours graduate Shudufhadzo Musida delivered the keynote address, while recipients of the #ForWomxnByWomxn grants and some of their students provided updates on their research work. The afternoon’s festivities made for a packed programme, including a musical performance by the Lady Day Big Band, featuring UCT alumna Lana Crowster and the UCT Centre for Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies.

5. UCT ranks top in Africa

UCT came top on the continent in the ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2021. It has been ranked in 201–300 band by ARWU 2021, published on 15 August 2021.

This latest ranking means UCT leads in Africa in all five major world university rankings: Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), US News & World Report Best Global Universities, and ARWU.

The ARWU ranks more than 1 800 universities across six key indicators and publishes the best 1 000.

6. COVID-19 Vulnerability Assessment deadline extension

UCT has extended the deadline for students to complete their COVID-19 Vulnerability Assessments to 1 September 2021, and moved the procedure online.

Students need to check their @myuct email addresses to find the letter of invitation from faculties and a link to the Vulnerability Assessment that needs to be completed before 1 September. (The original deadline has been revised due to delays in faculty “likelihood” assessments for COVID-19 vulnerability.) Completing the Vulnerability Assessment is part of the process UCT is required to follow in controlling access to campus in compliance with COVID-19 regulations. Please ensure you complete the Vulnerability Assessment accurately.

Newly completed Vulnerability Assessments may produce the following results:

  • Staff who have no comorbidities and are rated as a low risk will be automatically cleared. Staff will be notified accordingly and provided with access to the Daily Health Screening component of the UCT Health app.
  • If your responses to the assessment yield a different result, you will be advised to contact the Occupational Health Unit (for staff members) to discuss the result of the Vulnerability Assessment.
  • Students who have declared they have comorbidities will receive a message after completing the Vulnerability Assessment with additional precautions to be followed. Students who are concerned with their result may book an appointment with Student Wellness Service.

After 1 September, the UCT Health App will automatically activate the Vulnerability Assessment process for anyone who has not yet completed it, as a one-time event.

Read previous communications:

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