Price reaffirms commitment to completing academic year at UCT
University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price has reaffirmed the executive’s commitment to keeping UCT open and completing the 2016 academic year. Please see the full text of his letter to the campus community below.
18 October 2016
Dear colleagues and students
The University of Cape Town executive is committed to keeping the university open and completing the 2016 academic year. We condemn the violence of the last two days. I would like to extend my gratitude and empathy to the staff and students who have experienced harassment or intimidation and have still worked tirelessly through this four-week period. Conditions have been very difficult for everyone – PASS staff, academic staff and students.
While we will engage the security that is needed to continue with the academic programme as planned, we believe that a sustainable solution will more likely be achieved if we can find agreement and compromise. In view of this, we remain open to engaging with the protesting students, who are largely represented by the group called the SRC Candidates. The executive has therefore been engaging with the students on the following issues:
1. Immediately setting up an Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission (IRTC) / Shackville TRC to look into all the issues that have contributed to the protests and which need to be resolved to ensure that UCT is able to address the challenges of transformation and decolonisation
2. A commitment to the ideal of free, decolonised education
3. An inquiry into financial exclusions
4. Possible amnesty to the students who have been interdicted, suspended or expelled due to their involvement in the February Shackville protests.
In return the university will require the following commitments:
1. Resumption of full university activities
2. Agreement that there will be no disruptions to teaching, learning and examinations
3. Agreement that there will be no further interference with staff and workers carrying out their official university duties.
Any agreement reached will need to be based on a mutual understanding that:
1. All parties will bind themselves to the recommendations made through the IRTC / Shackville TRC process
2. The offers of amnesty will be withdrawn if disruptions continue and full university activities are prevented from resuming.
As of today, protesters are still engaged in activities that are aimed at shutting down the university despite concerted attempts on the part of the UCT executive to find agreement.
The executive still remains open to engagement, but at the same time it is doing everything to ensure that the academic year is completed successfully.
The executive appeals to all those still involved in protest to do so within the framework of the law.
Dr Max Price
Issued by UCT, 18 October 2016
GroundUp footage of protests: