Fees protest ends academic year

Vehicles have been torched at CPUT.

Students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), will have to push through to complete their year-end exams, despite the suspension of face-to-face classes.

After weeks of rioting and arson at the university, the senate executive committee convened a special meeting, where it was decided to suspended all face-to-face classes on all of CPUT’s campuses for the rest of the year.

CPUT announced this on its website on Wednesday October 26, noting it had been unable to reach agreement with student leaders on dates to resume classes.

“After thoughtful consideration of the most recent events of violence, intimidation and destruction on our campuses, the national situation, and our concern for the safety of students, staff and visitors on our campuses, we have convened an urgent special meeting to consider the way forward that will allow us to complete the 2016 academic year.

“Unfortunately, we had to concede that the situation on campus has deteriorated to such an extent that it is impossible to continue with face-to-face academic engagement without compromising the safety of students and staff,” the statement read.

It did nothing to reassure students, who are still unsure of where they stand and still don’t know whether they will be able to write exams.

Nele Nombila wrote on CPUT’s Facebook page : “What about academics? examinations?

“What’s going on at CPUT? wStudents still need answers from your resolutions of the council. It seems like we are not taken into consideration by management.”

Anotherstudent,Brendan Cooper, asked: “When do exams commence?”

While Lisa Mary Narramore said: “Sending prayers that wise decisions will be made.”

CPUT spokeswoman Lauren Kansley said the university would go ahead with the exams during November and December, and that the exam period would be extended into January.

Exams at the University of the Western Cape are scheduled to start on Monday November 7.

UWC spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said students also had the option of writing exams in January.

Mr Tyhalibongo said learning had continued at the university through “blended learning modes”, such as the online platforms.

“Arrangements have been made with network providers to ensure that students who live off campus have access to their learning programme material,” he said.

Meanwhile,CPUThas appointed Dr John Volmink as acting vice-chancellor, as of Monday October 31, in place of Dr Prins Nevhutalu who has been placed on special leave.

Northern News earlier reported on CPUT’s plans to continue with lectures, tests and assessments at Wingfield naval base (“Race to the end amid university fees protest,” Northern News Thursday October 20). However, those plans stalled as violent protests continued at the Bellville campus with five vehicles being torched on Monday October 24. A sixth car was burnt out later that evening at the Cape Town campus.

This came shortly after three security guards were locked in an administration building that was torched on Wednesday October 12.

On Wednesday October 29, thousands of students from universities across the country marched to Parliament demanding free tertiary education, as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was due to deliver his medium-term budget policy statement.