Stellenbosch University’s top priority cannot continue to be its focus on being an internationally renowned research institution‚ but instead needs to urgently rethink its role in righting the wrongs it helped create in SA.
That is the view of a group of students who are staging a sit-in at the institutions JS Gericke Library to voice their support for the scrapping of tuition fees.
Protesting students published a list of grievances on their Facebook page‚ Feesmustfall Stellenbosch 2.0 which they want addressed by university management on Thursday.
The students said they sought an “open‚ honest engagement about fees and free decolonised education” and an end to the criminalisation of non-violent student protests.
“What happened at UKZN should be a warning to all managements to not push students too far. Once we decide to burn s***‚ it’s game over. So stop treating us like criminals‚ vandals and hoodlums when all we seek is open and honest engagement.”
They also called for an end to the outsourcing of university workers‚ free tuition for the children of cleaning staff‚ relief for students suffering without basic necessities such as food and an end to the securitisation of campus.
“Stellenbosch University needs to get behind its students and support their call for free decolonised education‚” said the group.
“Stellenbosch University needs to urgently rethink its role in South Africa. Being an internationally renowned research institution cannot be its first priority. Given the history of this university as both the birthplace and think-tank of apartheid‚ we argue that more than any other university in the country‚ Stellenbosch University has a larger responsibility to address and actively fix the problems it created through such alumni as Hendrik Verwoerd.”
President Jacob Zuma established a fees commission into higher education earlier this year to explore the thorny issue of university fees‚ which many students want scrapped but universities argue are essential for their financial survival.