The students said they had raised their concerns in order to stimulate dialogue on the matter, as they were fed-up with “institutional racism at the university” and a culture that alienated students who did not “fit in”.
They raised concerns about appointments in the faculty which they said were racially biased, and the effect faculty politics had on students’ ability to perform, further alleging the victimisation of students and staff who had chosen to speak out on these very issues through “the appropriate channels”.
“It’s been brought to our attention that the faculty has permanently employed four white women.
“This appears to be contrary to the faculty’s claims to a commitment to transformation At least three of these posts were not advertised to the general public and no reasons or justifications were advanced.
“If the posts had been advertised, the faculty would have had the opportunity to consider black applicants who are of the same calibre, if not better than the current appointees.”
The students added: “We acknowledge the efforts of our predecessors, those still in the faculty and those no longer here. We make a call to the powers that be to take an active role in dealing, or at least engaging, with the issues outlined.”
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said the students’ statement was “grossly inaccurate” and misrepresented faculty processes and facts.
He said as recently as last week, the law faculty dean had addressed two of the issues raised at a student assembly.
“UCT notes that there are a number of unsubstantiated claims in the letter. There are formal channels through which these issues can be raised and none of these channels have been utilised thus far. We also note a number of defamatory allegations and reject these.
“Many of the issues raised relate to issues that affect the university broadly. The faculty, in the context of institution-wide initiatives, continues to seek ways to address and transform systemic racist and exclusionary institutional culture practices,” Moholola said.