After continuous unrest and turbulent protest action, 1000 students staged a sleep-in demanding no hike in student residence fees at the University of Witswatersrand. The demands were addressed by Wits University’s senior executive team, following an announcement of a 0% fees increase on Friday.
Wits University’s senior executive team are to discuss the outcome of the demands and the date of commencement of the final exams for 2015. This was done after taking into account all of the representations received from students and the university community. The senior excecutive team stated that it is committed to implementing measures in order to get the academic programme back on track. It disclosed in a statement that there will be a 0% residence fees increase for 2016.
“There will be no increase in fees for 2016. This means that academic, residence and any other fees will not be increased. The Presidency has agreed to underwrite the cost of this, provided that the university makes some contribution. The university is prepared to address the increase in the upfront fee payment,” says vice-chancellor and principal professor Adam Habib.
The university will financially support students who meet the requirements to qualify for admission.
“We undertake to find financial resources to support the children of all workers employed in currently outsourced services, provided that these children qualify for admission to the University,” says Habib.
There will be no disciplinary processes against students who were involved in legitimate forms of protest.
The team decided that although the protest adversely affected students during a crucial time in the academic year the exam timetable would be restructured.
“The university recognises that the protests have adversely affected the ability of students to write their examinations. It therefore commits to restructuring the academic programme and examination timetable,” says Habib.
On the basis of this, the academic programme must resume on Tuesday, 27 October 2015.
“It is imperative that we do not lose the academic year and jeopardise the future potential careers of our students,” says Habib.
Humanitarian agency Gift of the Givers seized the opportunity to provide these students with refreshments.
“We fed 1000 students who slept on university premises in solidarity of their cause yesterday. They want no increase in resident fees,” says spokesperson Emilie Thomas. VOC