Victory
Petitioning Wits SRC Shaeera Kalla

Wits SRC to end protests until after November exams

The problem South African university students are facing at the moment is that several major universities have had all academic activities shut down due to student protests over increases in fees. 

At the University of Witwatersrand, all academia has ceased since Wednesday the 14th of October, just days before some students are scheduled to write exams, and only two weeks before the university's official exam period is scheduled to begin. This has now been extended to at least Monday, the 26th of October. As a result, all students are missing out on lectures to finish off the end of their coursework and are not completing their respective syllabi, which in many cases is examinable content.

This petition is not against the fight for lower fees. It is independent of any political, economic or social stance on the topic of lowering fess as a whole. It is simply identifying that all of Wits' students need to have access to every academic resource available to them in this critical part of the year. This includes, but is not limited to lectures, consultations, library and computer access and the feeling of security and safety when on campus. It calls for the SRC to identify not only with the students who are fighting for their ability to enroll next year, but also with the entire student body who need to have their full focus on exams at the present time. 

The SRC is accountable to represent the desires of its students, and as such, should enough students feel strongly enough to sign this petition, they are expected to fulfill its demands.

This petition, should it become large enough, calls on SRC to postpone any activities which result in students not being able to perform normal day-to-day activities at Wits - at least until after all examinations have been concluded. It asks Shaeera Kalla, the SRC president, to call off the protests on campus and ask her followers to resume preparing for exams so that the final week of lectures may be presented, and that exams can run their course without further disruption. 

I, Saieshan Vandayar, a 3rd year Mechanical engineering student, appeal to the entire Wits student body to sign this petition using their student emails if possible, so that we may minimise the damage done to our academic year by the cancellation of lectures, tests and exams so close to the end of the year. I believe that accessible tertiary education is fundamental to the development of youth, and is a cause worth fighting for. Furthermore, I do not believe that the course of action that the SRC has taken is the best path for all students, especially concerning the timing of their challenge. I feel empathy towards the thousands of students who know that a 10.5% increase will see the end of their degrees. All I am asking is for empathy to be shown to the students who believe the continuation of the interruptions of the past week will bring about the same result for them.

#########################################################

EDIT: 25/10/2015

On the 24th of October, a day after the march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria and President Zuma's announcement that a 0% fee increase would be enacted for 2016, Prof. Adam Habib communicated that Wits would not open on Monday the 26th, as agreed upon during the course of attaining the 0% fee, due to the continuation of the protests. This can be viewed on the link below:

http://www.wits.ac.za/newsroom/newsitems/201510/27531/news_item_27531.html

This is an unacceptable response from our SRC which shows nothing but complete irresponsibility and lack of level headed leadership which is willing to consider multiple views and adopt rational thinking.

Personally, I understand the reasons for the SRC not being happy with the result. The 0% increase has in no way showed any promise for a sustainable future of the monitoring of fees. The reality is, however, that the finalisation of a sustainable solution will not be attained within a time frame which can be placed between now and the resumption of the academic term. This is a process which could take months, or even years. To draw a parallel with the much highlighted case of Germany, who have attained free tertiary education - this process took years of lobbying. Our academic careers cannot afford to wait any longer. 

By SRC continually ignoring the students who have signed this petition (of which there are currently upward of 2600), it is showing that it is purposely being incompetent in its mandate to represent the desires of the students. This was indicated by a tweet sent out on the 21st of October at 11:55AM, stating that they will not stop the protest regardless of the petition. I have contacted them about clarification on this, and have received nothing but death threats from their followers. 

I implore all students to sign this petition so that we may resume our exams, and salvage what is left of this academic year. The ball is rolling in terms of the journey toward accessible education, but it is inconsiderate at the very least to expect academia to be halted while this process concludes.

#########################################################

This petition was delivered to:
  • Wits SRC
    Shaeera Kalla


    Saieshan Vandayar started this petition with a single signature, and won with 4,538 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.




    Today: Saieshan is counting on you

    Saieshan Vandayar needs your help with “Wits SRC, Shaeera Kalla: Wits SRC to end protests until after November exams”. Join Saieshan and 4,537 supporters today.