Monday, October 26, 2015

South African Students Storm University Senate Meeting
26 OCT 2015 13:29

Students occupied a senate meeting at Wits University to decide when exams and lectures should resume, as protests continued at campuses around SA.

A Wits University senate meeting in Johannesburg was adjourned after protesting students occupied the venue on Monday.

Wits stays shut as #FeesMustFall protests continue

The special meeting of the senate, the highest academic decision-making body of the university, was supposed to deliberate on the continuing protests and to decide on the resumption of the academic programme, including postponed exams and lectures.

“This university is under new management now, it is the students that are in charge … this is the struggle we will fight until we win,” said student leader Vuyani Pambo, who is also the Wits EFF chairperson.

The students had earlier held their own meeting at the Senate House – which they have renamed Solomon House – to come up with a strategy for their renewed #FeesMustFall movement.

They then moved to the university senate meeting which had been underway since morning and continued with discussions there.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel told reporters the meeting was adjourned without any decisions being taken, and that it would resume tomorrow.

‘Bring back our exams’

Meanwhile, another group of students demanded to be allowed to sit for examinations and picketed outside the Great Hall.

A student had the words “Bring Back Our Exams” written on the back of his t-shirt.

Students at the institution were divided over whether they should continue with the protest or postpone it and prepare for examinations.

“The problem is we have allowed politics to come into the #FeesMustFall movement … it is being hijacked, we are saying let us write examinations, get it done with and then map the way forward after we’re done,” said one of the students.

Lengthy meetings were held on Saturday and Sunday, with students failing to agree on how to proceed with the campaign that started at their institution two weeks ago, and spread to other campuses across South Africa including Rhodes and UCT.

Student leaders imposed a media blackout. They refused to update reporters on developments at the campus.

Continuing protests

Most university campuses around the country had decided to continue with protests, despite an announcement by President Jacob Zuma on Friday to put a moratorium on 2016 fee hikes.

The students argued that only one of their several demands had been agreed to (fees not rising) following a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday.

They are demanding free education for all and that universities stop the outsourcing of staff and services.

– African News Agency

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