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UCT acts quickly to prevent further disruptions and ensure safety of all students

Video footage on social media showed the disrupters throwing the students’ scripts off their desks while they were writing in the Sports Centre, one of the university’s main exam venues. Picture: Screenshot

Video footage on social media showed the disrupters throwing the students’ scripts off their desks while they were writing in the Sports Centre, one of the university’s main exam venues. Picture: Screenshot

Published Jun 10, 2022

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Cape Town - After the disruptions of exams on Monday, UCT put strict measures in place to safeguard students and staff against any future disruptions.

The disruptions were not an official protest and the disrupters were neither staff nor students of the institution, said UCT in a statement, adding that the university strongly condemn the behaviour shown on Monday.

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“Due to the importance of securing the exam venues, protecting the rights of our students to complete their mid-year exams in a conducive environment, UCT requested that the SAPS come on to our campus.

“UCT laid charges of trespassing and malicious damage to property with the SAPS and an arrest was made on Monday afternoon,” said acting vice-chancellor Sue Harrison.

Harrison said Monday’s events were deeply distressing for all involved and the university lamented the extra stress caused to students. UCT ensured that Campus Protection Services secured venues on the upper campus for the afternoon exams.

In response, UCT Student Representative Council (SRC) vice-president Siya Plaatjie said that Monday’s actions were a response to the shortage of staff at UCT, with many casual/temporary workers overlooked when permanent positions come up.

“What transpired on Monday was the personification of the workers’ frustrations and struggles, and while we do acknowledge that the protests were led by what the university describes as trespassers, the issues faced daily by workers are valid and legitimate.

“We ask that the university not gloss over these events, and recognise the need for meaningful engagements between the executive and workers.

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“The SRC will continue to facilitate the voicing of worker struggles and hold the executive accountable for its commitments,” she said.

Plaatjie added that these issues of worker struggles impact on the student experience, which includes the issue of safety on campus and quality of food in catering residences.

In the meantime, UCT has provided support to students and staff who were affected by the disruptions. Students will be advised of their re-sit times and arrangements will be made to help those who still need support.

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