UCT agrees that Rocking the Daisies test concession should be reviewed

2017-10-04 12:27
The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

The University of Cape Town's upper campus. (iStock)

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Cape Town - The University of Cape Town (UCT) executive has broadly agreed that the decision to allow philosophy students to miss a test if they were attending the Rocking the Daisies music festival in Darling, should be reviewed.

"Our understanding is that this is being done within the faculty - which is the appropriate place for this discussion and decision," UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said on Wednesday.

Questions had been raised over the decision by Dr Tom Angier to allow students to miss a test as long as they could prove they had booked their tickets for the annual music festival "well in advance".

READ: UCT test concession for Rocking the Daisies festival a 'parade of white privilege'

Angier's notification that circulated on social media stated: "Owing to the unusual term structure this year, there is a clash between the second test on October 6 and Rocking the Daisies. If you can supply evidence of having booked the festival well in advance, you will be excused attendance at the test, and your other course work will count more towards your final result. You must bring such evidence to Philosophy reception and fill out the usual form[s]."

Following an uproar over apparent inconsistencies in granting concessions, UCT said it was planning to develop a set of criteria that would serve as a guide to course convenors across all faculties.

This would ensure "a degree of fairness, consistency and equity".

One student had said on Facebook that the concession was a "joke" as Muslim students had to write exams during Eid.

'Racialised privilege is paraded'

The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation at the university (DASO-UCT) said it did not support this concession, due to the lack of consistency applied by university officials.

"As an example, students who applied for concession to attend the Open Book Festival, an extra-curricular activity which would have been beneficial to students, were rejected," said DASO-UCT steering committee chairperson Neo Mkwane.

The UCT Black Academic Caucus (BAC) said that racialised class disparities were highlighted in the inconsistent approach to handling the different needs of students.

"It's not enough that black students have to silently carry the burden of disadvantage, or think twice before approaching some of their white lecturers when they are in distress; they now even have to watch as racialised privilege is paraded before them."

Moholola said that, in making concessions, there had to be sensitivity to every student's particular situation, along with cultural, socio-economic and other pressures that influenced that situation.

Students with requests had to supply the relevant documentary evidence.

He said the course convenor's discretion had to be exercised in a uniform and consistent manner.

"If students believe that the granting of concessions and extensions is not being applied equitably within a course, students may escalate this to the head of department and the faculty for review."

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