UCT closes campus after staff 'traumatised'

2016-09-28 14:18
Students and workers hold a mass meeting at UCT to demand that students who were suspended, interdicted or expelled for #feesmustfall related protests be allowed to return immediately. (Jenna Etheridge, News24, file)

Students and workers hold a mass meeting at UCT to demand that students who were suspended, interdicted or expelled for #feesmustfall related protests be allowed to return immediately. (Jenna Etheridge, News24, file)

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Cape Town - The University of Cape Town closed its campuses on Wednesday after a group of protesters allegedly "intimidated and traumatised" university staff.

Groups of protesters forced staff out of their offices, spokesperson Gerda Kruger said.

"Yesterday [Tuesday], and again this morning, we have seen a group of protesters behaving in an unlawful, intolerant and unacceptable manner. Their actions are intimidating and traumatising staff."

The Jammie Shuttle bus service was at a standstill after protesters threatened drivers and stole their keys. Traffic booms were being interfered with and entrances to various parts of the campus were continually being blocked.

"In light of the above, the decision has been made to close the campus today and staff are asked to speak to their line managers to agree on modes of working from a safer space."

UCT suspended all academic activities for two weeks after widespread protests against tertiary education fees began last Monday.

The decision was taken to "keep security presence low" so talks with students could progress in good faith.

Kruger said staff should continue engaging students, but ensure their own safety first.

Vice Chancellor Max Price on Wednesday said the university may have to close for the year if ongoing Fees Must Fall protests last longer than three weeks.

The academic year could still be completed if classes resumed on October 3, but it would be disastrous if classes remained suspended beyond that, he told reporters.

- Read more: UCT could close for the year if protests continue - Max Price

Read more on:    uct  |  university protests  |  university fees

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