The 19 May 2015 editorial “What didn’t tell us in the brochure” (sic) refers to “the stigma attached to extended degree programmes”, the isolating experience of many students and staff at the University of Cape Town, and the agony of students who fail, not “because they were ‘lazy’, but because they were not given adequate academic support”.
My name is Thato Pule and I am a black transgender woman.
Those are three very important words: black, transgender and woman. These words describe my political identity and reality. All three words are a description of how I need to be emancipated from structural oppression. All three are very complex and require specific approaches. They are also very hard to separate because I reside within their intersection and it is therefore very difficult to see beyond their meeting point.
I write this letter to you because this week I was forced to ask myself “Why must our struggle continue?” This is not the first time this question has plagued me. Why must it be that a student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is pushed to the point of having to throw fecal matter over the statue of Cecil John Rhodes in order to have a conversation about transformation at UCT? How is it that we are now at this point?
The subhead below the headline for the lead story in the latest printed edition of Varsity (“G4S Above the Law?” 14 October 2014) refers to “human rights violations committed by G4S at UCT, as well [as] on a national and international scale”. This statement is false and is unsupported by the text of the article. G4S has never been accused of human rights violations at the University of Cape Town.
I was pleased to read that Geoffrey Kilpin supports the basic principle and direction of the new admissions policy at the University of Cape Town (“UCT Admissions Policy: Too Much Too Soon?”, Varsity, 29 July 2014). I note the points of criticism he raises concerning the strength of the data underlying the policy, how the policy will work and the weightings assigned to different indicators of disadvantage. I would like to address these.
The Academic Freedom Committee invites UCT staff and students to submit nominations for the 2015 TB Davie Memorial Lecture. The TB Davie Memorial Lecture is an important event in UCT’s calendar and an opportunity to affirm and clarify the values of academic freedom in our contemporary context and to stimulate debate.
Saif Islam, Our Vote Our Voice National Campaign Team
I would like to respond in my personal capacity to Ziyana Lategan regarding her open letter on the WhyVote2014 soapbox rally organised by InkuluFreeHeid (as part of the Our Vote Our Voice campaign) and the SRC.
In her letter, Ms Lategan expressed disagreement with the views of two speakers, Lorne Hallendorff and Anton Taylor, on electoral abstinence. She argued that boycotting the vote can be a deliberate political act.
In the previous edition of VARSITY (edition 2, February 28th), the term “geeks” in Katy Scott’s article caught my eye. Upon learning that a group of seven-year-olds were granted access to iPads for educational reasons, I wasn’t very opinioned to begin with, but some thoughts came to mind, which is why I’m writing this article.
Firstly, I’d like to say it’s great that schools are trying new ways of teaching. The world is changing, so should the teaching paradigm. Since there is no real way of knowing in advance what teaching methods are the best, I say experiment away.
In the article which appeared in VARSITY entitled “It’s not racist, it’s a joke”, the writer critiques the role humour plays in enforcing racial stereotypes, particularly against those classified as “coloured”, claiming that the humour “erodes the very democracy for which we have struggled”.
An open letter to Lorne Hallendorff and Anton Taylor.
I consider you both to be significant persons among the student body of UCT at present.
I heard each of you share your views on voting at the Soap Box dialogue hosted by InkuluFreeHeid in collaboration with the SRC on Thursday, October 3rd. I wish to respond to your equally unsettling sentiments by way of this letter.
Open letter to the 2013 SRC President, Lorne Hallendorff, and SRC Services and Labour Co-ordinator, Lwazi Somya.
Some weeks ago three G4S workers were moved from UCT to be placed at other G4S sites. First let us be clear what a transfer means. It is not simply moving location, it means a drop in wages and loss of those few benefits which UCT workers have fought hard to secure. It can mean a change of working hours, of travel time and of safety. It is no small thing.
Response from Vice-Chancellor to VARSITY article about motions put to Senate on the admissions policy.
I have taken note of the issues raised by the SRC President and the Chair of the Student Assembly in their letter to me and in the VARSITY article. I responded in writing to them by the due date as promised, and have also met with them. I have also offered to meet the Student Assembly.