The university had decided to suspend classes “in the interests of the safety of all and to avoid any confrontations”.
CLASSES at Sol Plaatje University (SPU) in Kimberley were yesterday suspended and students have threatened that classes will not resume if management does not meet several demands.
SPU spokesperson Kashini Maistry said yesterday that the university had decided to suspend classes “in the interests of the safety of all and to avoid any confrontations”.
She said that this decision came after a call for a suspension of classes by the SPU Student Representative Council (SRC) yesterday.
“The SPU SRC will hold a Student Assembly to discuss the call by the South African Union of Students (SAUS) for a national shutdown of the higher education sector.
“SPU leadership tried to meet with the SRC earlier to discuss their call for a suspension of classes on Thursday (yesterday) but the SRC has unfortunately been unwilling to meet with SPU leadership this morning (yesterday). They have instead been going around asking students to leave their classes,” Maistry said yesterday morning.
“The Vice-Chancellor has asked heads of schools to make the necessary arrangements to catch up the lost lectures caused by this suspension. The SRC has agreed to meet with the university leadership after their meeting with students. Classes will resume as normal on Friday (today),” Maistry concluded.
However, SRC spokesperson Itumeleng Senye said that classes were not suspended due to the SAUS call but rather as a result of the SPU’s failure to respond to several demands raised by students.
These include the current “accommodation crisis”, where several students have still not been allocated accommodation; the “financial exclusion” of students, where historical debt has still not been wiped, as promised; and the “academic exclusion” of students, where first-year students who failed during 2018 where apparently not allowed to continue with their studies during 2019.
At the time of going to press yesterday, a meeting between the SRC and management to discuss the demands had still not concluded.
Senye said that while Kashini indicated that classes would resume on Friday (today) the students had vowed not to return to classes before their demands are met.