Ricochet News

NMMU says it remains open and learning is taking place

OCTOBER 20, 2016
NMMU says it remains open and learning is taking place



Despite the violent disruptions witnessed at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the university was to resume classes, it says that academic learning has begun in earnest.

"The last two days at NMMU have been more difficult than anticipated," the university said.

"Notwithstanding, a number of lectures have taken place along with other forms of learning, and the University remains open.

"Additionally, engagement between academic lecturers and students has increased and the academic and operational recovery plans have been enhanced. The University is also currently exploring the expansion of teaching and learning through various supplementing delivery modes."

The NMMU said that its residences remain safe spaces, and that additional support services are to be provided.

"NMMU appreciates the generosity, commitment and understanding of staff, students and the wider University community during this period.

"It further acknowledges that the interruptions experienced over the past two days have been challenging and everything will be done to improve security," the NMMU said.

"The University remains resolute in keeping its campuses open to save the 2016 academic year as the alternative of shutting down is far too dire to contemplate for all of us. Staff and students are reminded that NMMU is not alone in facing its present challenges, as the higher education sector is experiencing tumultuous times."

Meanwhile, 31 of its students were arrested following Wednesday's violence.

The NMMU said that during the month-long #FeesMustFall shtutdown, it was presented with six demands, all of which were met, bar two, which were deemed deal breakers.

These were:

  • The national call for free, quality, decolonised higher education; and
  • The clearance of all debt for students who qualified for debt and down-payment relief in 2016.

"While NMMU is unable to meet the first demand since it is a national issue, it agreed to deploy resources that will hopefully inform the national roadmap towards this ideal," the university said.

"Internally, the institution has committed towards debt resolution and has already invited student representatives to work in a task team to find sustainable solutions going forward.

"Management and students found each other on these two key demands last Thursday (13 October). Following this agreement, the two matters were presented to Council the following day. After Council deliberations, these were endorsed and Council resolved accordingly."

This is why it was able to announce the resumption of operations on Monday 17 October and classes on Tuesday.

"There is therefore no reason why the present disruptions should be happening.

"Given what happened a week earlier when NMMU also announced its re-opening and there was a stand-off between police and protesting students blocking the entrances, the University sought a court interdict to guide the behavior of protesting students going forward," the NMMU said.

"The interdict allows for peaceful protest in designated areas, as well as the safe passage of those who wish to continue their studies. 

"As part of the commitment to continue engaging students, the University went to court yesterday to get the court ordered mediation to be reinstated. This mediation has commenced."