Dear students and parents
You may have noticed the series of tents and perimeter fencing that have been set up on the rugby lawns. This will be the venue in which most of the exams will be held from 15 to 30 November.
We have taken this unusual step as a measure of our firm commitment to the huge majority of students who want to write their exams and see the academic year through to its end. A small number of protesters remain determined to see the university shut down, and have disrupted tests and exams over recent weeks in their attempts to do so. We will do our level best to prevent such incidents from recurring.
We note that thus far, as a result of disruptions over the last two weeks, 12 individuals (11 of whom are UCT students) have been arrested and/or charged, some remain under arrest, and three further cases of arson or malicious damage to property have been opened without suspects yet identified.
I realise that it may be stressful for some students to write exams in the midst of an increased security presence, but I hope you understand that this has become unavoidable.
We have reduced the immediate presence of security within the exam perimeter to a minimum. However, we will have Campus Protection Services officers in the exam tents. This is to enable the interception of any protesters who are students, and therefore may be entitled to be in the exam venue, from attempting to disrupt any exams. In terms of the current interdict, any protesters attempting to disrupt exams will be handed over to the South African Police Service for arrest.
There will be medical and other emergency teams on standby near the tents within the perimeter fence should anyone need assistance.
My colleagues and I wish you all the very best with your exams. We are fully behind you.
Dr Max Price
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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.”