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To: UCT Vice Chancellor, Dr Max Price
STOP THE VICTIMISATION OF STUDENT ACTIVISTS AT UCT
Dear Max Price
Stop the intimidation and victimisation of black student activists. You must enter into meaningful, honest dialogue and engagement with all student formations working toward the decolonisation of the University of Cape Town, for free education and the insourcing of workers.
Why is this important?
Over the last year, South Africa has seen a rise in student protests calling for the decolonization of institutions and for the provision of free education. All across the country there has been explosions of student and worker anger directed at university management and the state for their failure to respond adequately to the anti-black, anti-poor and liberal state of our higher education system.
Black students and outsourced workers can no longer be silent about their dehumanization in our institutions of higher learning. Black students and outsourced workers can no longer accept being marginalized on their own land.
However, university executives across the country are silently using their institutional powers to stifle dissent by victimizing student activists.
At the University of Cape Town, supposedly the ‘best’ university in Afrika, management has turned to repressive means and is intimidating and victimizing student activists. Outside of the gaze of the media and public scrutiny, Vice Chancellor Max Price and his deputies are silently executing a clear mandate: suffocate legitimate student protests by criminalizing, indefinitely suspending and expelling those the university regards as ring leaders instead of dealing with the issues raised by students.
To date the University of Cape Town has:
• Indefinitely suspended 3 student leaders from the university.
• Indefinitely Interdicted 5 activists from accessing the university. Initially there were 16 students interdicted.
• Charged 9 student activists through internal disciplinary procedures with the intention to expel
Several students have now lost a whole term due to their suspensions and interdicts barring them from accessing the campus and it is predicted that UCT will target more black students.
For black students access to higher education is political. Our histories have been shaped by poverty, a lack of human dignity and inequality due to being denied access to quality education. Furthermore, gaining access to higher education burdens us with the duty to break this cycle by actively challenging the neoliberal anti-black policies around housing, fees, institutional racism and patriarchy in order break open the ivory towers of higher learning for the majority of the people of this country. It is this cause that UCT is now criminalizing and victimizing black students for.
We call on all progressive forces, parents, community leaders, alumni, civil society, politicians and the general public to put pressure on UCT management to lift the suspensions, remove the interdict and to seek alternative methods of resolving these conflicts so as to avoid denying students access to education at UCT.