Classes and exams disrupted but academic programme resumes on Monday
- Wits University
Students who have been identified as having violated the University’s rules are being suspended.
Several lectures and two tests were disrupted today on the Braamfontein campuses. In many cases, protesting students entered classrooms pretending to sit for a lecture and/or test before setting off firecrackers and stink bombs to disperse students. They also blew whistles extremely loudly so that lectures and tests could not continue and students panicked and evacuated the rooms. In some cases, students continued with lectures outside the classrooms.
A test was disrupted in the New Commerce Building while about 500 law students were unable to complete their tests this afternoon.
Students tried to disrupt lectures at the Faculty of Health Sciences in Parktown this morning but were moved out of the building by private security and the police.
Aside from those listed above, all lectures and tests were conducted successfully across our campuses. Despite the disruptions that occurred today, the academic programme will continue on Monday.
There are many students and staff expressing concern as to whether sufficient security will be in place to ensure that examinations are not disrupted. The University has developed a separate, extensive security plan to ensure that examinations are written without disruption.
Arrests and suspensions
Four students were arrested on our campuses today for contravening a court order. Students who have been identified as having violated the University’s rules are being suspended.
Violation of rights
The University respects the rights of those who want to protest, but not at the expense of the Constitutional rights of those who want to work and learn. The behaviour of the protesting students today is unacceptable and is a clear violation of the rights of those who chose to attend classes. The University is reviewing camera footage of today’s incidents and will act against those who are responsible.
Relaxation on the movement of residence students
Given the assurances provided by student leaders and staff at Campus Housing and Residence Life, we have made the decision to relax the restrictions on the movement of residence students. We had considered lifting the restrictions completely, but given the attempted arson on our campuses last night and other incidences of violence, this is not possible. These are temporary measures that will be progressively lifted as the situation stabilises.
This means that for this weekend, students need to remain within their residences or areas of study between midnight and 5am. Should they wish to leave to a learning venue during this period, they will be escorted back to their residences by Campus Control, who will be stationed outside these centres. Several learning centres have been opened including laboratories on several campuses and 24-hour reading rooms.
We encourage students and staff to report all incidents to Campus Control on (011) 717-4444 and to pass on all material and complaints to the Head of Campus Control via firstname.lastname@example.org or hand it in to the Legal Office.
Further, if anyone feels that Campus Control or private security have used excessive force, they should report it immediately to the Head of Campus Control or the Legal Office. All complaints about the police on campus can be made here and should simultaneously be reported to IPID for investigation.
Any students who are injured should immediately make their way to the Campus Health and Wellness Centre or call (011) 717-9111 if the emergency has to be treated on site.
Please note that the information provided via these daily updates intends to provide a macro overview of developments across the University, and does not reflect the individual experiences of people on the ground. It is also based on the information that we have at the time of sending the email.