In the wake of ongoing student protests which have gripped several universities across the country, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) says it has now reached a point of no return to save the 2016 academic year.
Following an urgent special meeting of the senate executive committee on Tuesday, a decision was taken to suspend all face-to-face classes on campuses for the year.
“The meeting also resolved that deferred, outstanding and re-assessments will all take place in January 2017. “We had several fruitful engagements with leaders from the student community and decided more than once on a date to resume classes, but unfortunately this has not been realised until now, quite often due to circumstances beyond our control,” acting vice-chancellor Louis Fourie said.
The university conceded that the situation on campus has deteriorated to such an extent that it is impossible to continue with face-to-face academic engagement without compromising the safety of students and staff.
Yesterday, a fire was lit inside the Goodnow Hall at the Wellington campus. “At this stage an investigation is under way as to whether the incident is directly related to the current student protest action.”
Yesterday’s incident came barely hours after a police vehicle and two buses were torched in Braamfontein. The police could not confirm if the arson attacks were linked to the ongoing student protests.
According to Wits University, 15 people were in one of the buses which was travelling from Esselen Street to Education Park in Parktown before it was set alight. Elsewhere at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), no incidents were reported yesterday.
According to spokesperson, Willa de Ruyter, students were in class, writing tests. She said the memorial service for Benjamin Phehla, a student at the Soshanguve Campus who died on Friday last week after being run over by a vehicle during a protest outside the campus, will be held today from 10am.
Several universities have been gripped by student protests which were sparked by an announcement by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande that it was up to universities to determine tuition fee increases.