100 signatures reached
To: UJ Vice Chancellor - Professor Ihron Rensburg
Reinstate Claire Ceruti at the University of Johannesburg
We, the undersigned oppose the commodification of education.
- We demand the immediate reinstatement of Claire and others who have been unjustly suspended.
- Furthermore, we demand de-securitisation of the universities, and the protection of the right to protest and freedom of expression on campus.
Why is this important?
In 2015, we witnessed the most forceful and sustained student movement in the post-apartheid era under the banner of #FeesMustFall closely followed by workers’ #OutsourcingMustFall campaign. In 2016, these campaigns continued. University management across the country responded by securitising campuses leading to violent attacks on protestors, preventing students from walking in groups of more than three and, until this day, searches of students and faculty inside and outside of campuses. Hundreds of student activists have been arrested and suspended throughout South Africa.
Claire Ceruti, is a former Ph.D. candidate at the University Johannesburg (UJ), who has been prevented from continuing her studies because she was prominent during the student and worker protests.
Claire Ceruti is an author of the award-winning Class in Soweto. Her Ph.D. thesis is a deeply theoretical and exceptionally historically and empirically grounded longitudinal study. Those who have worked with Claire admire her astute scholarship and commentary on a wide range of subjects which include sociology, feminism, collective action, labour studies, Marxism and race and class analysis. She was active in the struggle against apartheid and continues the struggle against neoliberal capitalism.
Although we are of the strong view that Claire’s exclusion is politically motivated, the official reason UJ administration gave is that she did not complete her Ph.D. in time. They present the analogy that a sprinter who runs 100 metres in less than 10 seconds doesn’t get a medal and that she was not fast enough in her own “sprint” to complete her Ph.D. This neoliberal market-oriented logic which puts quantity before quality is dangerous since it suggests that if someone invented a cure for cancer in 10 years, their knowledge contribution would be worthless.
On Behalf of the South African Sociological Association (SASA).
President: Sonwabile Mnwana
Vice-President: Nomkhosi Xulu Gama
Secretary: Luke Sinwell
Treasurer: Carin Runciman