Dear students and colleagues
This campus announcement aims to inform members of the University of Cape Town community about:
1. Load-shedding update
Eskom’s stage 4 load-shedding is scheduled to continue this week. All UCT campuses will be affected by the power outages planned for the next few days. As previously communicated, UCT has put measures in place to ensure that minimal teaching and learning time is lost during load-shedding, and that the impact on all other university operations is reduced as much as possible. Both Eskom and the City of Cape Town issue regular notices ahead of load-shedding. UCT’s upper, middle and lower campuses, the health sciences campus and all residences are in Area 15. Hiddingh campus and the Graduate School of Business are in Area 7. Staff and students are encouraged to check the load-shedding schedules regularly and to plan accordingly. The university has a limited number of venues with full back-up power which can be booked for study purposes, but these might not necessarily be available at all times if they are already booked for other purposes.
The following study hubs have full back-up power:
Some UCT buildings have generators to provide limited back-up power to research facilities, emergency lighting, some power points, and access and fire-detection systems. Other UCT facilities have uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that will provide emergency lighting and some power points for a limited time – usually about two hours.
Wi-Fi will unfortunately not be available in most UCT buildings during power outages. Although the UCT IP landlines will not function during load-shedding, the Campus Protection Services (CPS) landline (080 650 2222) will still be operational. UCT has over 100 lifts. Staff and students are cautioned not to use these lifts 10 minutes prior to scheduled load-shedding times. Some of the lifts have emergency dial-out systems that will allow communication with CPS, and you are advised to use this service if necessary. Alternatively, make use of your cellphone to contact CPS on 080 650 2222, assuming that reception is sufficient.
2. VC Desk: Broadening financial aid
An important executive decision was recently taken that will have the effect of further broadening financial aid to poor students studying at UCT. This decision will mean that financial assistance will now, for the first time, be extended to students who have registered for postgraduate diplomas (PG Dips and Certificates) and have appealed for their outstanding fees from 2018 to be cleared. This applies to students who are eligible for financial aid and have not been academically excluded. This will not apply to online programmes. This decision means that the university has broadened its financial aid to groups of students who were previously not assisted. In 2018, for the first time, UCT also extended financial aid to students in financial need studying towards postgraduate honours degrees.
3. Senate meeting update
The University of Cape Town Senate took a resolution in favour of a proposal for UCT to 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. The Senate resolution, which was passed at a meeting held on 15 March 2019, will be considered by the university Council when it next meets on 30 March 2019.
4. Institutional Review: 2008–2018
The Institutional Review: 2008–2018 was recently completed and is now available on the UCT News website. The review reflects on the progress UCT has made over the past decade and outlines some of the challenges that the university will face in the future. The publication gives an overview of UCT operations, including research, internationalisation, teaching and learning, infrastructure, student life and activism, transformation and financial sustainability.
5. Postponement of Steve Lawn Memorial Lecture
The annual Steve Lawn Memorial Lecture has been postponed to the first week in April. It was due to take place on Wednesday, 20 March 2019. The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who is to deliver this year’s lecture, has been called away to another commitment. The new date will be communicated in due course.
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In an email to UCT students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“There are multiple challenges on our campus and in our society, but also multiple opportunities. Let us commit together to advance this wonderful institution, to transform it, to continue to transform ourselves, and to leave lasting changes that will improve UCT for future generations of students.”