ASAWU Statement on Today’s Events

Colleagues,

We are watching with grave concern today’s events taking place. The ASAWU Executive once again wishes to strongly and explicitly condemn the violence and destruction of property that has taken place. We are deeply concerned about the safety of all students and staff, particularly those who have been injured. We urge colleagues who are on campus to remain calm and to avoid, where possible, getting caught up in events taking place.  Continue reading “ASAWU Statement on Today’s Events”

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ASAWU Statement Regarding Violence on East Campus

Colleagues,

Today’s events represent a significant escalation in tensions on campus. The ASAWU Executive condemns unequivocally today’s turn to violence and destructive behaviour in front of Central Block. The stone throwing by some students and private security personnel created an extremely dangerous situation. Personal injury was caused and property was damaged. Such actions were unnecessary and unwarranted. If all parties had shown more restraint and access to Senate House via Central Block had not been prevented, the sad events we witnessed could have been avoided.

Further, it is clear that having on campus private security guards who act in an unprofessional, ill trained and emotional manner adds danger to an already volatile situation. Continue reading “ASAWU Statement Regarding Violence on East Campus”

ASAWU Executive Statement on 2016 Fees Announcement

Colleagues,

Today the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced that the government recommends that Universities increase fees by no more than 8%. He also indicated that universities should decide on the fee increases themselves, within the guidelines given. Further, he committed that government through NSFAS will fund the fee increase for students coming from families with incomes of below R600,000. This was framed as an attempt to assist those from poor backgrounds and the so-called “Missing Middle.” The announcement does mean that it is likely that Wits will be increasing its fees for 2017 but this is yet to be confirmed by the Vice-Chancellor.

ASAWU supports a publicly funded higher education system that is accessible to all who qualify to attend. No academically deserving student should be turned away from university on the basis of not being able to afford it. ASAWU also recognizes that higher education is integral to rectifying the inequalities that continue to permeate South African society. Central to the projects of social mobility and national development is establishing a funding system that provides quality education and produces professionals, taxpayers and innovators. Members of the ASAWU Executive Committee, along with a number of those in the membership, have contributed to the Heher Commission on Funding Higher Education. Continue reading “ASAWU Executive Statement on 2016 Fees Announcement”

Statement on the Academic Staff Representative to Council

Colleagues,

We are sure that many of you will have seen the recent communication from the Chair of Council regarding Prof Dickinson, which noted the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to determine whether or not he has broken the Council Code of Conduct. We find these events to be quite extraordinary and very concerning.

The issue relates to Prof Dickinson’s habit of writing reports to Academic Staff after every Council meeting (4 regular meetings per year), which should be understood as part of his duties to academic staff as their representative to Council. The reports serve to inform academic staff about discussions taking place at Council and contribute to transparency in how our institution is governed. We are sure many academic staff are deeply concerned that Prof Dickinson’s reports are now the basis of a commission of inquiry. Many academic staff find the reports informative and enlightening (if not humorous) about an aspect of University governance often little understood. Continue reading “Statement on the Academic Staff Representative to Council”

ASAWU Statement on Campus Violence

Colleagues,

The events of the past week on South African university campuses have been nothing short of heart-breaking. We have watched with great sadness videos of racist violence against protestors at UP and UFS, and reports of the fire-bombing of the VC of UCT’s office and the burning of a bus with passengers on it at Wits. People have been injured and threatened with injury. Many have also been upset by acts of vandalism against university property, including the burning of paintings at UCT and broken windows at Wits. Without question, human life is more precious than property. The ASAWU Executive feels strongly that violence, against people as well as property,  simply cannot be considered an acceptable or effective solution to the pressing issues of access, justice and transformation currently facing the higher education sector.

South Africa is better than this. Continue reading “ASAWU Statement on Campus Violence”

ASAWU 2016 Update

Colleagues,

Along with our greetings for the New Year, the newly elected executive committee of ASAWU would like to share some important information in the context of recent management communications and actions regarding security on campus, the right to protest, and the implications of these for academic staff.

 

Security on Campus  

Registration for the 2016 academic year commenced on Monday, 11th January 2016 and so, too, did the resurgence of the #FeesMustFall protests resulting in registration being suspended by the afternoon. The registration process is of vital importance to the university and to the thousands of new and returning students, many of whom are unable to take up their accommodation until the registration process is completed. Also important is the desperate need to address through access to higher education the social inequality crippling South African society. Continue reading “ASAWU 2016 Update”