UCT probing prof who allegedly used graphic language about protesters

2015-10-19 15:15

Fee increases will financially exclude students from working class backgrounds - UCT protesters

2015-10-19 13:49

All lectures and other activities at the University of Cape Town have been suspended for the rest of Monday following protests over fee hikes.WATCH

Cape Town - UCT has confirmed it is investigating an incident in which an associate professor allegedly on Monday used graphic language when referring to a group of protesters.

A video recorded on Monday morning by Twitter user Raeesa Pather, showing a man identified as Faculty of Commerce associate professor Peter Ouwehand allegedly swearing at a group of protesters, was retweeted over 300 times by the afternoon.

In the video, Ouwehand is seen getting out of his car and is heard telling the group: “You guys are not helping. Those poor students are not going to get any of their lecturers in here today. How is this going to help? Why are you doing this? Bloody hell, it makes me insane.”

As he gets back into his car, he is heard calling the students “fucking selfish cunts”.

Mixed responses

UCT spokesperson Pat Lucas confirmed the university is investigating this incident.

Responses by Twitter users were mixed.

“Yes, he’s swearing. It’s called frustration. Won’t you be if you want to teach?” @AnitaGeldenhuis asked.

@GautengNigel tweeted: “He is telling the truth, so what? I call them hooligans and thugs.”

But user @MissOgaufi replied: “His frustration today only is the frustration the students face daily, especially UCT students.”

@AshleyKittyFame agreed. “His frustration is minuscule compared to poor students who battle with fees.”

Attempts to reach Ouwehand were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the university’s acting vice-chancellor Professor Francis Petersen has warned protesting students to refrain from violent, threatening or unlawful behaviour.

All who participate in protest actions should remember that freedom of expression is both a right and a responsibility, he said in a statement issued on Sunday.

Campuses blocked by protesters

Petersen said the university had been informed that protest action opposing fee increases was being planned for Tuesday.

But on Monday morning, all of UCT's entrances to the middle and upper campuses were blocked by Rhodes Must Fall protesters.

Students are protesting against 'exclusionary fees', and the 'exorbitant MIP' (Minimum Initial Payment, the minimum lump sum required from a student at the beginning of each academic year).

The 2015 initial payment was R21 500 (or the full fee, if it is  less than R21 500). For residence costs, the initial payment was R25 500 for catering residence or R16 500 for self-catering. 

Petersen said while the institution would “always protect anyone’s right to lawful protest, we also value and protect the rights of those who do not participate or who hold different views”.

“I appeal to all students and staff to behave respectfully towards one another, to bring their views over with intellectual rigour, debate and creativity,” he said.

“As students and staff of this institution, the power to change the institution and broader society rests with us. In fact, it is our responsibility. We should give effect to this in a lawful manner.”

Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  university fees  |  protests

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