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Stellenbosch Uni council accepts motions on transformation

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The Stellenbosch University council has accepted various motions related to transformation at the institution.

These include recommendations on its language policy and the pending appointment of two vice-rectors, the university said in a statement on Tuesday.

The motions were adopted on Monday.

In terms of the language policy, the university said council supported certain recommendations, such as the removal of the word “safeguard” in the context of Afrikaans as an academic language.

Similarly, the university supported the removal of words such as “judicious” and “where feasible” in terms of the development of isiXhosa as an academic language from the introduction of the policy.

“The Rector’s Management Team accepted these recommendations by the task teams that considered the proposals contained in the memoranda… by various student bodies at the end of the first semester,” it said.

The proposed changes to the language policy would be tabled at the council meeting in November after consultations with the institutional forum, and with the concurrence of the institution’s senate.

Council also took note of the actions and statements by member Piet le Roux about universities in South Africa and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

“The motion also states, that while Council acknowledges Mr Le Roux’s constitutional right to have his own opinions, the body completely distances itself from his public statements which are contrary to Council’s official position,” the university said.

In another related motion, the council mandated a committee of five members to investigate Le Roux’s actions and pronouncements.

This would be done in context of legislation and the Code of Conduct for members of council.

Le Roux, the convener of the Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging, tweeted on September 6: “Blade Nzimande en #transformasie gaan nie wen nie. Ondersteun die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging. [Blade Nzimande and transformation won’t win. Support the Afrikaanse Alumni Association].

This was five days after the council appeared before Parliament’s education portfolio committee. Vice Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers told MPs that racism was wrong and they would remain steadfast in efforts to transform the institution.

“The Committee has been instructed to settle the process with Mr Le Roux, further to obtain legal advice and guidance from senior counsel, and to report its findings and recommendations to Council three weeks prior to the Council meeting of 30 November 2015,” it said.

In terms of the vice-rector positions at the university, the institution said a new position, Vice-Rector: Strategic Initiatives and Internationalisation was approved by council.

“This position, as well as that of the Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel (previously the Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel), currently held by Professor Nico Koopman in an acting capacity, will be advertised shortly.” News24

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