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Varsity VC row rumbles on

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"The first examination session was also disrupted. All other examination sessions will continue as scheduled”

DISSATISFIED: National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members, along with students at the Sol Plaatje University, boycotted a presentation by the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Crouch, on Friday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) in the Northern Cape has expressed its continued disapproval of the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Sol Plaatje University.

The union, along with students at the university, on Friday boycotted a planned presentation by Professor Andrew Crouch, who is said to be the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of the university. The presentation was cancelled.

Refused

Students also refused to write their examinations on Friday and classes had to be suspended.

The spokesperson for Sol Plaatje University (SPU), Kahsini Maistry, confirmed that the presentation had to be cancelled.

“The selection panel for the appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Sol Plaatje University has cancelled the presentation, scheduled for November 1, 2019, by Professor Andrew M Crouch. The first examination session was also disrupted. All other examination sessions will continue as scheduled,” said Maistry.

Nehawu and the SPU student representative council had earlier last week opposed the appointment of Crouch, stating that his appointment will turn SPU into a “carbon copy” of Wits University.

Nehawu’s branch chairperson, Keeme Mongale, said that they had previously stated their dissatisfaction regarding Crouch’s appointment.

“The appointment of the VC (Vice-Chancellor) will make SPU look like an extension of Wits University. The position of the VC was filled by a DVC (Deputy Vice-Chancellor) from Wits and now, again, we have a DVC from Wits who is said to become the VC of SPU. This candidate (Crouch) is also the only candidate who is being presented to the public. How can one person compete against themselves obviously the result will be in their favour. It seems like this process is a foregone conclusion.

“The panel is parading this man and wants us to be excited, claiming he is from Kimberley, but he never lived in Kimberley. We need someone who will give SPU its own independent identity and not make it look like an extension of Wits,” said Mongale.

He also questioned Crouch’s age. “Another problem is that the candidate is already 62 years old. After three years we will be going through the same process again.”

Mongale said that the only way that the matter can be resolved is for the presentation process to include all three final shortlisted candidates, otherwise the post should be re-advertised.

“The panel needs to reconvene and let all the candidates present. The process needs a re-run because currently it looks like a foregone process. The process needs to be fair, as no man can compete against themselves. Even the current VC of SPU never competed against himself as there was an opposing candidate present. Why can the processes not be followed with this candidate? If the panel is reluctant to do that, the other option would be to re-advertise the post. We can, however, not allow this process to proceed,” Mongale said.