Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
22 October 2015

Call for UCT academics to join march about events regarding #FeesMustFall

Today, the Academics Union and the Black Academics Caucus hosted a meeting of about 200 concerned academics about the recent events around the #FeesMustFall campaign. This group identified a number of shared points of concern, which we shared with the University community today.

We call on all academics to join a march from Jameson Hall on Upper Campus to Bremner Building tomorrow, Friday 23 October 2015 at 11h00, where we will deliver the following demands to UCT Management:

UCT ACADEMICS’ DEMANDS RELATING TO RECENT EVENTS ON CAMPUS AND #FEESMUSTFALL

We, the undersigned members of the academic staff of the University of Cape Town, stand in solidarity with the students and workers of UCT and the demands raised by those groupings. In light of recent events on campus and the ongoing campaign on #FeesMustFall, as concerned academics we further demand that:

1.The interdict issued on Monday be withdrawn unconditionally and with immediate effect, and charges against the students dropped.

2. Police brutality must stop. UCT Council urgently formulate a policy on the circumstances under which police are invited onto campus, together with possible limitations on their actions, so that the disproportionate reaction against students seen on Monday evening never occurs again.

3. An open forum for academic staff be convened by UCT Management by the close of business on 27 October at which each member of the UCT Executive must personally account on their role in seeking the interdict, and in allowing the violence on campus this week to take place.

4. The University reschedule exams, and consult and communicate with both academics and students about what the plans are to conclude the year.

5. The University engage, as a community of students, staff, workers and management, with government and other stakeholders to resolve the national funding crisis of higher education in South Africa. Holding government to account for its role in precipitating this crisis must be an important component of that engagement.

6. UCT Management makes transparent the University’s financial and budgeting processes, as well as the University’s current income and expenditure, so that academic staff can understand the long-term financial constraints faced by the University, as well we the implications thereof.

To add your name to the list of academics who sign the statement, please email kelley.moult@uct.ac.za.

Academics who wish to join the march may collect their gowns on Upper Campus between 10:45 and 10:55am, near the library stairs in Molly Blackburn Hall.

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