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Update on protest: 26 October 2015

- Wits University

The University will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, 27 October 2015.

The proposals put forward by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib, to the student body earlier today have now been updated. Kindly see the updated proposals below.

This includes that the University has withdrawn the date for the continuation of the academic programme as it awaits a response from the students in this regard. Wits has also clarified under point three that the examinations will be postponed and that the new timetable will essentially be similar to the original timetable but will have new dates. 

The University will communicate to its community about any new developments as they occur and when the University re-opens.

UPDATED STATEMENT FROM THE VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL, PROFESSOR ADAM HABIB, ON BEHALF OF THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Wits University’s Senior Executive Team met today, Monday, 26 October 2015, after taking into account all of the representations received from students and the University community. The Senior Executive Team commits to implementing the following measures in order to get the academic programme back on track:

  1. There will be no increase in fees for 2016. This means that academic, residence and any other fees will not be increased. The Presidency has agreed to underwrite the cost of this, provided that the University makes some contribution.
  2. The University is prepared to address the increase in the upfront fee payment.
  3. The University recognises that the protests have adversely affected the ability of students to write their examinations. It therefore commits to restructuring the academic programme and examination timetable. The examinations are postponed for now and a new examination timetable will be put forward as soon as possible. The new timetable will essentially be similar to the original timetable but will have new dates.
  4. The University recognises that outsourcing is an exploitative practice. The University commits to establishing its own internal commission. This is in addition to the President’s commission. The internal commission will be chaired by the Chairperson of Council and will comprise the Chairperson of Finco and representatives from all stakeholders, including students, unions and others. It may also include an independent expert. This commission will investigate the effects of outsourcing services on the University, the cost structures associated with insourcing and possible alternative models. 
  5. The University undertakes to find financial resources to support the children of all workers employed in currently outsourced services, provided that these children qualify for admission to the University.
  6. There will be no disciplinary processes against students who were involved in legitimate forms of protest.
  7. The University commits to drawing up a workers’ charter.
  8. The University agrees, in principle, to make every effort to resolve any other outstanding issue that the students may want to address in good faith.
  9. Should the students agree to these measures, the University will commit to calling a General Assembly.

We will inform the Wits community when the University will re-open and when the academic programmes will resume. 

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