Executive and SRC at loggerheads as protests continue at UCT

17 February 2023 - 11:43
By Tanya Farber
UCT's student representative council has accused the executive of spreading false information. File photo.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff UCT's student representative council has accused the executive of spreading false information. File photo.

Confusion and an information war are raging at UCT, where the executive insists issues related to ongoing protests have been resolved and classes will continue but the student representative council (SRC) says otherwise.

The executive sent a circular to staff on Thursday saying “the university is now in a position to fully resume its academic project, including the face-to-face teaching and learning programme and research programmes, with effect from Friday February 17”.

It said the university met the SRC and “has taken all reasonable measures to ensure that as many academically eligible students as possible receive funding support”.

This was difficult to attain as cumulative historic student debt was R413m.

The SRC, however, accused the executive of spreading false information, saying the issues are far from resolved, with scores of students not able to register and many without housing.

A vigil was held on Thursday in solidarity with students who have nowhere to live.

The executive said face-to-face learning would resume on Friday but this was not the case. Entrances were blocked and academic staff were confused by conflicting advice.

An academic, speaking anonymously, alleged the executive had kept them in the dark, only communicating with staff on Monday and again on Thursday night.

Prof Shose Kessi, dean of humanities, tried to clear up confusion in her faculty by sending out a circular to students saying, “all of us in the faculty of humanities are aware and sympathetic of the uncertainty that has affected your work and routine this week. I also want to thank you for your resilience and commitment to your studies.

“You will have seen the executive communication last night [Thursday], indicating that on-campus activities will resume ... However, teaching and learning in the faculty of humanities will remain online today [Friday], unless your course conveners have specified otherwise. Ensure you frequently check your official UCT student e-mail inbox to stay abreast of important updates.”

The SRC sent out a circular just before 10am on Friday stating, “Cars and students moving on foot will not be allowed and all academic activity will not continue. We condemn the executive on the threats made in their statement. We would like to make it clear that we will not stop until all our demands are met ... we are not shaken by 'legal prescripts'.”


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