UP staff distance themselves from unions

2016-03-09 07:43
(Wim Pretorius, News24)

(Wim Pretorius, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Academic staff at the University of Pretoria have distanced themselves from threats of a possible withdrawal by trade movement Solidarity and the University of Pretoria Workers' Organisation (UPWO).

The two unions threatened to withdraw their members if the suspensions of four EFF students were lifted. They accused the UP management of promoting a culture of impunity and violence by allowing the suspended students to return to campus.

At least 50 lecturers have however distanced themselves from the statements and threats.

“We, the undersigned members of academic staff at the University of Pretoria, applaud our university’s decision to allow those students who have been suspended for their involvement in the recent student protests to return to campus and resume their studies pending resolution of their disciplinary hearings,” the staff members said in a statement.

“We believe the decision reflects both the constitutional right of every student to have access to higher education and the fundamental principle that anyone accused of an offence is innocent until proven guilty.”

Culture of impunity

On Monday, the unions said the decision to let the students to return made it increasingly simple for people to get their way through violence. They said a culture of impunity allowed violence and disruptions to prevail instead of constructive dialogue and negotiation.

The two unions who represent at least 1 000 members at the institution said they would advise their members not to go to work should the suspended students take part in or incite any further violent actions on campus and, by doing so, compromise the safety of their members.

The academic staff members held a different view and applauded the institution for taking the decision. They condemned the stance taken by UPWO and Solidarity and distanced themselves from it.

“The agreement reached on Saturday 5 March between the university and student organisations in terms of which the suspended students are allowed back on campus includes a broader commitment from all to the continuation of teaching and learning. We fully support this commitment. Although we condemn any form of violence or intimidation on campus or elsewhere, we as undersigned academic staff do not now and never did perceive our students as a threat to our personal safety,” the group said.

“On the contrary, in many respects we stand in solidarity with all our students in their exercise of their right to peaceful protest. We also believe that an academic’s first concern should always be to ensure access for students to the education to which they have a right."

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  pretoria  |  education  |  university protests  |  labour

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.