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Classes on track at Wits

- Wits University

Update from the Senior Executive Team (10:00):

Thank you to everyone who has reported for class this morning. The University is committed to completing the 2016 academic year and to ensuring that all students write examinations. 

Daily Update 

Classes resumed this morning and as at 10:00 all academic activities are on track. A group of students tried to close the entrance to the Wits Management Campus today and they dispersed when security and the police intervened. The police have followed them and are currently managing the situation. One student has been arrested. 

A group of about six students tried to disrupt a lecture on the Wits Education Campus but security stepped in and they ran away. We are doing our level best to ensure that lectures continue without disruption today. We also request staff and students to stay away from areas of conflict for their own safety.

Counselling services available 

We are very concerned about the level of trauma and stress experienced by students and staff given the incidents that have occurred in recent days. The Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) is providing counselling support for students and staff who may need trauma debriefing or counselling. They are welcome to visit the CCDU on West Campus or Education Campus for individual or group counselling or debriefing. Staff can call 011 717 9140/32 or 072 486 9780 and a counsellor will call you back. Visit the CCDU webpage that focuses on trauma and related important information. Read more at www.wits.ac.za/ccdu and scroll down the page. 

Engagement 

We reiterate that we have met with student leaders from official University structures privately. We are open to engaging with students from all societies and mediators to try to find a negotiated settlement. The Dean of Students invited 20 student representatives to meet with management, but the students did not take the offer. We are also open to an imbizo provided that it doesn’t fall into teaching time, it is facilitated independently, that it allows for a two-way conversation and is planned in advance.  We have written to the Students’ Representative Council. 

We are happy to address all internal issues as described earlier but it is beyond our control to give students free education now. 

Wits’ Pledge 

Wits has pledged its support for the goal of free, fully funded, quality, decolonised higher education. We pledge to approach government with a united voice for the realisation of this goal. We pledge to deploy our intellectual resources towards finding the best solutions. We are also prepared to support peaceful advocacy activities in this regard. Read the full pledge.

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