Police intervene in UWC campus protest

2020-02-07 16:20


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The academic programme at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) will resume on Monday after escalating student protests on Friday resulted in damage to property and police intervention.

UWC's acting rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Vivienne Lawack on behalf of the university's executive, said it was "regrettable" that disruptions were continuing despite efforts that had been made to meet the demands of the Student Representative Council (SRC).

This week, the executive agreed to postpone the start of classes to allow students, who had not yet registered, to complete the process.

READ MORE | UWC suspends lectures this week amid student registration problems

"The decision came after the SRC made a number of demands, including a call for the immediate postponement of the start of the academic year to February 10, clearance for registration and additional student accommodation," Lawack said in a statement.

"We have been in constant communication with the SRC whose members form part of the registration and clearance committee."

Lawack said the police had intervened to protect the campus community after protests on Friday led to damage to property.

"Despite this, staff registered students today and we commend their resilience. We thank parents, guardians and students, who despite the disruptions, have continued to complete the registration process."

Earlier this week, university spokesperson Gasant Abarder told News24 qualifying National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students have already been cleared.

Those with debt needed to be cleared before they could register, he explained, and the ones with debt who failed could not be registered.

The university would not turn away academically deserving students because of debt, Abarder said, and they needed to speak to the student credit management office to arrange a payment plan.

Regarding student accommodation, Lawack said UWC could not accommodate all on campus as bed spaces were limited.

"The university continuously secures additional bed spaces in private accommodation. This information was shared with the students," she added.

"Placements for on-campus accommodation, including assistance for placing students at private accommodation, will continue throughout the weekend. This includes the prioritisation of students who previously resided at the privately owned South Point residence."

Financial clearance will continue on Monday, while the academic programme will also resume on Monday as agreed to with the SRC.

- Compiled by Tammy Petersen

Read more on:    uwc  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests  |  university protests

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