UWC closed until further notice after studying students intimidated

2015-10-26 20:52
Students gather at UWC in protest over fees. (Paul Herman, News24)

Students gather at UWC in protest over fees. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Watch: UWC protesters march on campus

2015-10-23 17:20

Students at UWC occupied their Admin Building amongst the #feesmustfall campaign. WATCH

Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape has been closed until further notice after balaclava-wearing students carrying sjamboks and sticks allegedly intimidated non-protesting students and staff on Monday.

The decision to cease operations was made on Monday morning, UWC spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo told News24.

" [On Monday morning] the protesters went to the library and other buildings where students are preparing for exams. Students are uneasy as some want to study, but the group is harassing them. It’s difficult," he said.

Among the protesters' demands are free education, the renaming of the university’s Life Sciences Building to Steve Biko House and free student cards.

UWC was trying to reach middle ground with the students without outside intervention, Tyhalibongo said.

"While police have been in the streets outside the university, we have not called them onto the campus and no interdict has been taken out against the protesters," he said.

Although it was decided last week to move the exams back by a week to November 2, this may be amended in light of continuing protests.

Tyhalibongo said a decision would most likely be made by the end of the week.

UWC Student Representative Council (SRC) president Akhona Landu said the problem of victimising and intimidating other students did not assist the "cause".

She said if students could not write exams, they could not graduate in December and March, and this would diminish access for new students.

"We reiterated our position that the university programme must continue... the whole point now is to get the academic programme to continue," Landu said after an SRC meeting on Monday evening.

She said the SRC's duty was to communicate with the student body - which it was doing.

In terms of when UWC would re-open, she said that needed "further engagement".

The SRC also welcomed the announcement of the 0% increase in fees for 2016.

Read more on:    uwc  |  cape town  |  university fees

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