UCT closure 'not in anyone's interest'

Francesca Villette

UCT management on Wednesday pleaded with protesting students to stop their disruptions at campuses, and a student leader said they wanted normality too, on condition the university withdraws charges against several of its students.

Lectures at UCT have been suspended for the last few weeks following protest actions, and student leaders have called for the university to reinstate students suspended, interdicted or expelled during protests against fee increases.

University vice-chancellor Max Price said a long-term shutdown would not work in anyone's interest except “if your interest is the destruction of the institution” .

He said it would lead to a loss of confidence from educational partners, donors and funders, and potential employers of graduates.

“The collapse of the semester study abroad programmes may become a reality and our ability to attract international scholars and research partners will be diminished.

"The greatest impact will be felt by our poorest and most vulnerable staff and students. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that we are standing on the edge of a precipice.

"If UCT does not reopen on Monday, October 3, the consequences will be severe for all of us and it may lead to a situation where we will be unable to recover much of what will be damaged or destroyed,” Price said.

He added that consequences for the future of the country were also at stake.

Student activist Simon Rakei said students wanted normality at the university as well, and were not protesting to take the university down.

“We can start on Monday if they (UCT) reinstate students who have been suspended, interdicted or expelled following protests against fee increases, and drop charges against them.

"We don't want students to suffer, but we want the university to come to the party,” Rakei said.


Independent Online

Source:  Independent Online

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