‘Point of not return’ as UCT in last-gasp effort to save academic year

Universities around the country will reopen or continue with classes on Monday‚ with at least one saying it was the “point of not return” for saving the academic year.

“If we do not return on Monday‚ the academic term is lost and the consequences are absolutely dire. In other words‚ we are out of time‚” University of Cape Town vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said

While remaining hopeful that “efforts at engagement” would bear fruit‚ Price lamented that “we have to accept that‚ for the moment‚ the leaders of the protesting students do not yet accept the need to continue the academic programme without disruption”.

“Regrettably‚ this leaves us in a position where a decision must be made without the agreement in place.”

The University of the Witwatersrand said its “academic programme and all university activities continue” on Monday.

It could‚ however‚ see protests following the arrest of Fees Must Fall leader and former president Student Representative Council Mcebo Dlamini at the weekend as “part of on-going investigations into recent violence‚ criminality and acts of intimidation”.

Wits SRC ‏@WitsSRC posted a picture of protesting students on Sunday night: “Our students at Esselen defying the #WitsCurfew”.

Along with stricter access and a strong police presence at all campuses‚ the university has also imposed a temporary 10pm curfew at its residences.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) warned its students a “national directive by government to the South African Police Service (SAPS) to be present at all universities means that police will be on standby to meet their obligations”.

It said in a statement that “there should no longer be any reason for students to block entrances or disrupt lectures as NMMU has met all demands within its power”‚ but noted that it “is aware of various threats on social media”.

The Tshwane University of Technology is to continue with academic activities on Monday‚ saying: “In view of the safety of our staff and students‚ security measures will remain reinforced every day at all the university’s campuses”.

Protests there last week led to a student being shot when a security guard allegedly let off a round of live ammunition by accident.

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology‚ which saw a student being charged for attempted murder after setting fire to a building in which three guards were locked last week‚ plans to continue on Monday with some “classes‚ tests and final integrated summative assessments” being held off-campus at the Wingfield Naval Base.

It had to cancel a General Assembly it had planned for Saturday as “the situation on campus was abnormal”. – TMG Digital

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