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Students urged to return to class to save academic year

- Wits University

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

The majority of lectures resumed this morning but were then disrupted by large groups of protestors in Parktown and Braamfontein. Some shops in the Matrix have been shut down. The police are present and security has been deployed to manage the situation. 

We would also like to clarify the following, which students claim are the internal issues for the protests:

  • Management has engaged several times with student leaders directly and through mediators throughout last week, to no avail.
  • We are open to the idea of an imbizo, provided that it is a two way engagement, chaired by a neutral facilitator, with a specific time frame, and not in front of cameras. This imbizo should not impact on the academic programme.
  • No student will be barred from writing examinations because of unpaid fees.
  • Senate has approved a new academic calendar and examination timetable and it will be made available to all students and staff in the next few days.
  • Amnesty will not be considered for anyone involved in criminal activities.  
  • In Parktown, we need to move people out of the PKV2 residence so that we can build more classrooms. We have secured two other residences to accommodate these students, introduced hundreds of new beds and agreed not to move any students until the University closes for the holidays.
  • The University has committed to the principle of working towards free education. We have no authority to implement this but are willing to advocate for support from relevant stakeholders.  
  • We are comfortable to hold a general assembly once consensus is reached with the students on the issue of free education. 

We urge students and staff to return to classes this week, even if disruptions occur. We understand that there may be disruptions, but we have no choice but to try to save the academic year.

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