*Trigger warning: rape
The secrecy around sexual assault at UCT residences

News

In a response to the need for more comprehensive mental health care and an effort to prevent the number of suicides amongst its student body, UCT announced its partnership with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) on April 23rd. This consociation takes the form of a toll-free 24/7 helpline called the UCT Student Careline.

Due to library budget cuts implemented earlier this year, students and staff have experienced problems gaining access to some academic journals. The budget cuts, a result of UCT's newly implemented austerity measures and the continued depreciation of the Rand, has forced UCT Libraries to cancel previous subscriptions to academic journals. This has left both the students and UCT academics with a restricted access to academic content and thus, many are worried over the future ramifications this may have on the University.

On April 21st, Sizwe Nxasana, the newly appointed Chairperson of the National Student’s Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS), presenting the new funding model to Witswaterstrand University. The plan will allow for NSFAS to tighten the control of fund allocation to students as part of the new funding scheme set to start in 2018. Nxasana accused universities for being part of the problem in hindering students from accessing the necessary funds to higher education and is implementing this plan to circumvent the issue.

The second sitting of Student Parliament took place on Wednesday May 4th in the New Snape Building, Studio 4C and had 77% attendance, allowing for a legitimate decision-making process. Dr Max Price, Vice Chancellor of UCT, presented the new strategic plan for 2016-2019, which outlined five main focus areas of forging a new identity for UCT. The focus areas were: Institutional Culture, Africa and International, Engaged Scholarship, Graduate Attributes, and Research. According to the strategic plan document, ‘Strategic plans are designed to drive change, or concentrate effort and resources, in areas requiring attention in order for an organisation to fully realise its Mission.’

On April 15th Prof. Sandra Klopper, Acting Vice Chancellor at the time, released a statement via e-mail regarding a UCT student who had been raped in her residence room. The statement did not specify which resident this occurred in, but outlined that the perpetrator was not a UCT student and that an investigation into the matter is currently underway. While this is the first e-mail to have been sent to the university body regarding an incident of this nature, it is not the first time that a student has been raped in the residence.

Opinions

There is no one at this University who’s not under pressure. Regardless of their power, qualification, economic status or their age. It is a burden under which we all suffer. It is as common as the irritation we endure because of those winged rats we call pigeons. 

There are those, who, when the pressure mounts, have the necessary support, but there are also those, who, come night-time, are all alone and when pressure mounts there is no support. How do we let the unsupported slip so quickly through the cracks? Why are we failing? 

From the earliest stages of our development, gender norms have been used to drive home ideas around what constitutes ‘acceptable’ masculine and feminine behaviour. In high school I remember being told by a caring friend that having an ice-cream in a cone is not masculine, I should rather use a cup lest I be stripped of my ‘man-card.’

The main function of clothing is to prevent obscene nudity and to protect us from the strong forces of nature. To some however, it is a physical manifestation of who we are as people. Due to this, many begin to make deductions based on the clothing the person is wearing: bohemian headband means, weed-smoker; micro mini ass-cheek-revealing shorts means, slut and finally, no shoes means, tree-hugger.  We are, by nature, a ‘seeing is believing’ kind of species. This means that we naturally pass judgements based on outer appearances.

A small glimpse into the world of beauty will tell you that only specific identities are recognised as valuable and desirable. These are typically categorised as white, cisgendered, heteronormative, middle-to-upper class people who adhere to society’s expectations of who is beautiful and who is not.

So it finally happened: after an agonizing wait of over two years, our saviour, Beyoncé finally released her sixth studio album entitled Lemonade. The album, which included a short film, took everyone by storm. Social media was overflowing with lemon and honey bee emoticons, and it was clear that the world as we knew it had been changed forever.  

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