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Wits staff to return on Monday, academic programme to resume on Tuesday

- Wits University

Phased opening of the University follows several engagements with a range of stakeholders, including students.

Dear Colleagues/Students

The Senior Executive Team of the University of the Witwatersrand announced today that Wits will reopen this week as follows:

  1. All staff will return to work tomorrow, Monday 3 October 2016.
  2. The academic programme will resume on Tuesday, 4 October 2016.

The phased opening follows several engagements with a range of stakeholders, including students, where we ceded to requests for a phased opening this week.

Safety and Security

The presence of private security and police on campus is not ideal and we understand that students and academics are not comfortable with academic activities occurring in an environment with a visible security presence.

However, we are left with no choice at this stage but to bring additional security onto campus. We will request the police to remain on the perimeter of the campus this week, unless there is a need to bring them onto campus, or there is risk to life or property.

We commit to gradually reducing the security presence provided that:

-          University activities continue without disruption,

-          there is no violence, intimidation or threat to students and staff,

-          there is no destruction of property, and

-          anyone who breaks University rules or violates the Constitutional rights of others are immediately held accountable.

We are willing to consider withdrawing private security and the police if the protesting students undertake not to impinge on the rights of those who wish to learn and work.

There is much misinformation on social media and we encourage students and staff to obtain their information from official University channels - the Wits website, staff and student emails and Wits' social media channels - @Wits_News, @WitsUniversity and the University's Facebook page.

We urge staff and students to work with us as we reopen this week. Together, we can still save the 2016 academic year, while continuing the struggle for free education for the poor and the so-called missing middle.

Thank you


2 OCTOBER 2016