Fort Hare closed after protest

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iol news pic University of Fort Hare Flickr.com

Alice, Eastern Cape - The University of Fort Hare's Alice Campus, in the Eastern Cape, was still closed on Wednesday after violent student protests, the university said.

Most students had already vacated the university's premises, after being asked to do so on Tuesday, said the university's vice chancellor Mvuyo Tom.

“We have adopted a humanitarian approach to deal with the situation involving students who came from far, and those who could not afford to vacate the premises immediately,” he said.

Class disruptions at the university started on Thursday, when students embarked on a protest over various academic and non-academic issues.

An increment in residence fees and the implemented security measures were among some of their grievances.

Tyres were set alight and the university's entrances were blocked.

Students prevented senior management from entering the campus on Monday and classes were boycotted on Tuesday, when the university was closed.

The protests went ahead despite a court order issued by the Bhisho High Court.

Alice police said 21 students were arrested on Monday for public violence. “They were, however, released on a warning later that day,” said Warrant Officer Bradley Rawlinson.

Tom said the university's management decided to close it temporarily after considering all relevant factors, and in the interests of promoting efficient and good governance.

He said talks would take place between all stakeholders during the break, but that management would not meet students while the situation was volatile.

“We will also use the break to assess some of the damages which were caused during the protest,” he said.

The university would re-open on Tuesday. All students were expected assemble at the campus's sports complex to sign a written commitment to abide by the rules and regulations of the university and its campuses. - Sapa


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