Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Short statement and call from Concerned UWC Academics and Staff Group 27 October 2015


We, the undersigned staff members of the University of the Western Cape, stand in solidarity with the struggle of students for the right to access higher education in whatever forums they find themselves. As members of UWC, we welcome the challenge they have issued to South Africa as a country and to our university in particular. Their struggle is a struggle to study; it is a struggle for education, not for riotous assembly or an escape from the rigors of intellectual work. Our students are protesting as students so as to be students. 

This is not only a time of crisis, but is also a time of emergence. It is a moment in which the needs of a new expression of higher education in South Africa can begin to be shaped and planted. Acessibility, as students themselves have articulated, is not merely a question of fees. It has to do with everyday life, the cost of residence, the accessibility of resources such as books and computers. Accessibility also means having the time and space to read. 

We also recognize that the crisis goes deeper than the issue of fees. The demand of #feesmustfall; includes demands for university transformation,for the decolonization of our syllabi. This also calls into question the government’s long-term under-funding of our tertiary sector which affects HBI's in particularly acute ways. We urge university management to play a role in ensuring that the consequences of the 0% fee increase is dealt with nationally rather than institution by institution to ensure that inequalities between HWI’s and HBI's do not deepen. But free education is not only about money, resources, student to lecturer ratios, the end to the outsourcing, although it clearly does mean this. It also means an education that works towards freedom. 

We have been encouraged by the efforts of different student groups to work together. But we are deeply concerned at the potential for division and polarization which exists on our campus and in our community as a whole. There is a risk that existing divisions might be deepened; that students may be pitted against administration,and that the financial crisis of the tertiary education sector is deepened. 

1) We join with the call of our sister institutions for an end to police brutality. We support the right of our students to peaceful and democratic protest and condemn the violence involved in the brutal response of the police. We call on the SAPS to abide by the terms of the interdict brought in Western Cape in the interest of protesting students,call for all charges against students to be dropped, and call for the university management to assist students where necessary to enforce their rights. 

2) We recognise that the majority of the students have been participating in this protest action in a disciplined manner and commend them for their restraint.We believe that acts of intimidation and threats of violence will not serve the cause of the struggle for higher education,and call on all sectors of the student body to work to prevent these. 

3) We call on the university management to ensure the safety and food security of all students on campus, whether they are part of protests or not. The call to shut down the university is not a call to lock down campus. We therefore call on staff to continue to provide all students, whether participating in the protests or not, with the moral, legal, and academic support they need. 

4) We recognise the divided nature of our campus community at present and note the threat that this poses to our capacity to adequately respond to this crisis. We call on all sectors of the campus community, including students, support and outsourced staff and academics to join in an inclusive and democratic process to chart a course forward for our university in a transparent way. 

Issued by: Concerned UWC Academics and University Staff  

Woldekidan Amde                School of Public Health
Fiona Anciano      
Jung Ran Annachiara Forte         Dept Anthropology
Bassey Antia                             Linguistics Dept
Blanche Assam                         Foreign Languages
DH Bagwandeen                       Campus Health Services
Felix Banda                          Linguistics Dept
Susan Bassett                           Dept Sports
Umesh Bawa                            Psychology
Simon Beck                              Philosophy Dept
Alannah Birch                      English
Zannie Bock                              Linguistics
Linday Clowes                          Women & Gender Studies Dept
Ina Conradie                            ISD
Diane Cooper                            Public Health
Ben Cousins                                  PLAAS
Freda Daniels                           Department of Lifelong Learning
Charl Davids                             Psychology
Gavin Davis                              Department of Library and Information Science
Peter Dellobelle                    School of Public Health
Arona Dison                              Community & Health Sciences
Andries Du Toit                         PLAAS
Marijke Du Toit                         Arts Faculty
Michael Dyssel                          Department of Geography
William Ellis                              Sociology
David Fisher                             Department of Medical Bioscience
Miki Flockemann                       English
Diana Gibson                            Anthropology
Heidi Grunebaum                Centre for Humanities
Ruth Hall                             PLAAS
Mafaniso Hara                          PLAAS
Patricia Hayes                           History
Kate Highman      
Rechelle Jacobs    
Moenieba Isaacs                       PLAAS
Paolo Israel                              History Dept
Catherine Kell                           Linguistics
Muhali Mulalo Kenneth               PURE study, School of Public Health
Gillian Kerchhoff                        PLAAS
Lucia Knight School of Public Health
Peter Kohler                             English
Ernesta Kunneke  
Uta Lehmann                            School of Public Health
Martina Lembani                       School of Public Health
Desiree Lewis                           Women & Gender Studies Dept
Robert Lindsay                          Dept of Physics
Julia Martin                               English Dept
Glenton Matthyse                Gender Equity Unit
Aquilina Mawadza                Linguistics Dept
Uma Mesthrie                      Deputy Dean, Arts Faculty
Fiona Moolla                             English Dept
Ferdinand Mukumbang              School of Public Health
Fairuz Mullagee                    Social Law Project, Faculty of Law
Kathy Nadasen                    Anthropology/ Sociology
David Neves                             PLAAS
Grace Nkomo      
Susan Ntete                              English
Amiena Peck                             Linguistics Dept
Sharon Penderis                   ISD
Laurence Piper                          Dept of Political Science
Efua Prah Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Rebbeca Pointer                        PLAAS
Ciraj Rassool                            History Dept
Gavin Reagon                           School of Public Health
Bradley Rink                             Geography
Nicky Rousseau                   History Dept
Anna Samuel                            Arts Faculty
Nikky Schaay                            School of Public Health
Helen Schneider                   School of Public Health
ammy Shefer                          Women & Gender Studies
Vera Scott                                School of Public Health
Chris Stroud Centre for Multilingualism
Barbara Tapela                         PLAAS
Peter Van Heusden                    SANBI
Maria van Staden                Gender Equity Unit
Lisa Wegner         
Michael Wessels                        English Dept
Quentin Williams                  Linguistics Dept
Sally Witbooi                             Department of Library and Information Science
Hermann Wittenberg                 English Dept
Lesley Witz                               History

Wendy Woodward

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