Despite disruptions, NMMU says it remains committed to completing academic year

OCTOBER 21, 2016

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Friday said despite its "valiant attempts" to resume the academic programme this week being thwarted by ongoing protests and resultant clashes with police, it remains committed to resuming classes.

"These circumstances led to an increasing difficulty to conduct lectures on the South Campus.

"The University is also reeling from the news of the rape of two of its students, allegedly by a taxi driver at an off campus location," it said.

"NMMU is also contending with a second case of suspected arson after the burning down of the Campus Boma last night – which comes a few days after the Xanadu/Melodi Clubhouse was completely gutted."

There were also incidents of stone throwing on South Campus, where some staff and students’ cars were damaged.

"The University is extremely concerned about the criminal elements that have crept in, all of which underscore the importance of the continued focus on enhancing safety measures on campus.

"This past week has therefore been particularly difficult for University staff and students, who have been traumatised by the events of the week," the NMMU said.

"However, NMMU remains committed to complete the 2016 academic year as far as possible and remains open.

"Therefore, in light of the difficult circumstances presented to us this week, it has become evident that the complete reliance on contact delivery of lectures should be reviewed."

To this end, the University is exploring a range of alternative  teaching methods in order to best complete this year’s programmes and will be implementing and ramping these up from the coming week.

"NMMU is determined to complete the year’s studies, even if face-to-face interaction is disrupted, by ramping up these alternative delivery modes.

"The strategy is to employ various platforms to deliver study material, with the planning process around this set to be finalised today. This will gain traction over the weekend in terms of details and the final programme will be communicated to students next week," the university said.

"The University is encouraged by the cooperation with other universities and the increasing support from various businesses and civil society organisations prepared to offer assistance to our efforts to continue with studies.

"NMMU would like to reassure staff as well as present and prospective students that we are exhausting all avenues to follow through on attempts to address any outstanding issues."

33 student protesters released on bail

Meanwhile, 33 students arrested for public violence at the NMMU throughout this week, have reportedly been released.

They were all granted bail of R100 per person and are scheduled to reappear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court again on the 8th of December.