UCT scraps graduation ceremonies‚ shuts up shop for rest of week

Protest action and the disruption of lectures have forced the University of Cape Town to cancel its graduation ceremonies for 2016.

Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said‚ in a memo to staff and students‚ that the institution had also suspended lectures for the remainder of this week.

“The decision to suspend lectures is not taken lightly. The university executive‚ together with the vast majority of staff and students‚ would undoubtedly prefer to keep the campus open. But we also have to take responsible measures to ensure personal safety‚ and to protect our premises‚” he said.

He said students – both for and against protests over tuition fees — and staff would use the rest of the week to explore an end to the standoff.

“I wish to assure you that we have worked out a plan that will ensure we complete the academic year by pushing the whole calendar out by two weeks‚ with no reduction in teaching days‚ exam days or study breaks‚” he said.

“Sadly‚ we will not be able to hold graduations this year. Official transcripts will be issued‚ and students and their families can return to a graduation ceremony in June 2017.

“It is unfortunately a grave reality that if we do not return to normal classes on 3 October‚ our ability to make up additional lost teaching days will be very complicated with severe consequences‚” he said.

He remained convinced that bringing extra security and police onto campus would inflame tensions‚ “if we have not first engaged with all parties in an attempt to convince most of them that we are listening and hearing‚ and serious in wanting to address legitimate issues”.

But‚ he warned that should protests continue‚ the university would‚ “resort to the high security option to protect access‚ teaching and learning and to maintain our operations”