Dear students and colleagues
The campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town community about:
1. UCT operations
Today marked the last day of classes for 2017. All the deans of faculties reported to the executive that the academic work for the term has by and large been concluded, and preparations for the exam period has begun in earnest. Classes, tests and exams proceeded today as scheduled by course convenors, and the Jammie Shuttles ran without interruptions. UCT’s Main Library and all branch libraries are open, except for the Library Learning Lounge. The Hlanganani 24/7 Study Area will be open when the Main Library is closed.
2. Preparing for the exam period
UCT is now in full preparation phase for the final exams of 2017. Due to the situation that UCT has faced over the past three weeks, where multiple classes, tests and exams were targeted by protesters and some disrupted to a point that they had to be abandoned, an alternative plan to ensure the successful delivery of the exams has been developed.
It is critical that the exams are concluded successfully. The executive have previously expressed the dire consequences for thousands of students, for staff and the additional financial catastrophe for UCT if the exams are not concluded. Furthermore, UCT is determined to conduct the exams in a safe, quiet and calm atmosphere to support students in doing the best they can.
In light of the continued protest and the increase in unlawful incidents, any attempt to secure exams over two weeks in multiple separate venues proved to be extremely complicated.
The decision has therefore been taken to create a single exam venue that can be secured as fully as possible. This is now under construction on the UCT rugby fields. Access to the venue and the surrounding area will be strictly controlled. Further information on the finer details will be distributed to students and staff in due course.
The executive have expressed regret that security must be deployed to such an extent on campus to secure the exam venue. Staff and students should expect increased visibility of security measures around the exam venue. In the prevailing context, there is unfortunately no alternative. Campus Protection Services (CPS), private security officers and the South African Police Service (SAPS) are working closely together on the project.
Students who are taking the exams are encouraged to check Vula for exam times and further details.
3. Report on disruptions
Three students have been arrested in connection with an attempted arson incident early in the morning of 7 November. A CPS officer prevented a group of protesters from setting a vehicle alight in front of the John Day Building on University Avenue. Charges have been laid with the SAPS.
In addition, three cases were opened with SAPS in connection with malicious intent to damage property and five instances of the violation of the interdict.
In the early morning of 9 November, a petrol bomb was thrown at the window of the HW Pearson Building on upper campus and the wooden windowsill was set alight and damaged. A second petrol bomb was thrown at the gas cage outside the same building, but no damage was caused. A case of arson was reported to the SAPS and the police are investigating this urgently.
One student is being questioned in relation to allegations of illegally setting off fire extinguishers in classes.
4. Reward for information relating to unlawful acts
The university is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of anyone who commits an unlawful act on campus. If anyone has any information about any of these incidents, please report it to CPS on 021 650 2222.
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In a statement to UCT students, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price said:
“I wish no student to be ignorant about what constitutes unlawful protest behaviour.
Disruption of classes, blocking of entrances or exits, interfering with traffic flow, putting up barricades that prevent people from conducting normal business or attending classes, and any form of intimidation – whether physical or verbal – is unlawful.”