Ricochet News

Fort Hare Vice Chancellor to address protesting students at mass meeting

BY YOLANDA PALEZWENI - MARCH 23, 2017
Fort Hare Vice Chancellor to address protesting students at mass meeting

Following a three-week, and sometimes violent, student protest at the University of Fort Hare's East London Campus, the institution's Vice Chancellor, Professor  Sakhela Buhlungu, is now expected to address students at a mass meeting to be held on the 3rd of April, after the semester break.

The students escalated the protest after the Vice Chancellor refused to address them at a mass meeting on how the university would implement resolutions taken to address a memorandum of grievances that they submitted to management on the 9th of March. He held several meetings with the the Student Representative Council (SRC) instead.

Among the issues raised in the memorandum ,the students are demanding that the university implements a bus shuttle service to transport students to and from the campus claiming that they are being targeted by criminals "every day".

They are also demanding that the university provides residence to more than 250 students, who are still without accommodation. Another demand is that the 8% tuition fee increment implemented this year be scrapped off.

According to the Vice Chancellor, management held several meeting with the SRC and there were strong indications that agreement was possible, but there were also disagreements about implementation.

“While engagement on these [grievances] was in progress, a number of unfortunate incidents of disruption, damage to property and violence occurred on and off campus,” said Professor Buhlungu.

He added that, after consulting all the relevant stakeholders about the current impasse, he has decided to call and address mass meeting of all East London students on the first day of second term.

In the meantime, the management will engage East London SRC to make sure that they are fully briefed about the progress on implementation of agreed resolutions and preparation for the mass meeting.

“I would also like to invite students to make suggestions through the SRC about how t deal with missed submissions and forms of assessment during the last three weeks,” said Buhlungu.

He concluded by saying that the university management would like to call on the students to be patient, to exercise restraint and and to refrain from activities that threaten or cause harm to others and to property.

Meanwhile, more than 60 students arrested for public violence were released on bail and will appear again at the East London Magistrate Court on the 3rd April.

image: Wikipedia