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SRC to discuss Academic Freedom and the Student Experience

Date Released: Wed, 1 October 2014 15:00 +0200

Rhodes University Academic Freedom Committee will host a discussion on Academic Freedom and the Student Experience at Rhodes University on Tuesday (7October) from 18h30 to 21h00, at Eden Grove Blue.

“The theme proposed by the Academic Freedom Committee speaks to the concern of transformation of South African Higher Education, as it aims in the first instance to understand the experiences of disadvantaged students at Rhodes University,” says 2014 Student Representative Council (SRC) president, Brad Bense.

“The SRC supports the event focused on Academic Values and Student Culture. Is Rhodes a 'Home for All' because discussions around academic freedom in the past have focused more on the freedoms of lecturers and other academics rather than experiences of students,” he added.

Chair of the Rhodes Academic Freedom Committee, Professor Rose Boswell suggested that the SRC host a panel discussion, focusing primarily on the experiences of economically disadvantaged students and how their academic freedoms are undermined by these experiences.

Prof Boswell added that the panel discussion will include an experiential component where students can share their life experiences at Rhodes.

Rhodes University Student Representative Council has compiled data relating to experiences of economically disadvantaged students at Rhodes. These students are not only financially disadvantaged, but mainstream student culture at Rhodes also seems to be hostile to them.

Questions will be formulated around academic values drawn up by the Academic Freedom Committee in 2014 such as:

  • Freedom and autonomy: academics must be free to pursue the academic project. The university must create the conditions to ensure that students, academics and the academy are free from adverse political, commercial and managerial impositions that threaten the academic project.
  • Care and Attentiveness: academics and students must caringly and attentively engage with their work and with each other. Their minds must be readied to grasp the subtleties that are a central feature of the epistemic project.

Other issues that will be discussed will include fees, admissions, transformation, teaching quality, library services, residences, access to facilities, discipline, extra costs, social spaces, internet access, transportation, representation on committees and cooperative governance.  

Source:Communications and Marketing