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Uni calls on Open Stellenbosch to engage with them

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An open invitation has been extended to the Open Stellenbosch movement to engage in discussions on transformation at the Stellenbosch University, the institution’s management said on Tuesday.

This followed a meeting between management and Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education earlier in the day.

“We are listening, we are talking,” rector and vice chancellor professor Wim de Villiers said in a statement.

“We are committed to open discussion and will continue to do so.”

The university’s management urged Open Stellenbosch to take part in “constructive” discussions with management from setting the agenda and the terms of engagement.

Students gathered on Tuesday to march on campus and submit a memo of demands to management.

This was two weeks after the release of a documentary entitled Luister (Listen), in which students tell of anti-black racism on and off campus.

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande demanded answers from the University Council after seeing the documentary.

The issue was not only about Afrikaans as a language of instruction, which some students said excluded them from some subjects, but also about racist attitudes among some white students and academics, he said at the weekend.

These issues were discussed in a meeting with representatives of councils and managers of some of the former Afrikaans universities on April 16, and although they said they would work on them, students’ experiences showed otherwise.

He acknowledged efforts by De Villiers to remove discrimination, which included the Open Stellenbosch transformation initiative, and a transformation office and committee.

The university’s management said Tuesday’s meeting with the portfolio committee was constructive and resulted in useful inputs that would help the institution. News24

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