Letter to parents and guardians of UP students from the Vice-Chancellor

Posted on February 22, 2016

Dear parents and guardians of University of Pretoria students

Following the recent events surrounding the review of the University’s language policy, I wish to clarify certain matters which may be of concern to you. As you will be aware, in recent days, UP students were involved in altercations between differing student groups, and also subsequent incidents where police acted against students who were protesting outside of the campus. Today we were obliged to suspend academic activities on the Hatfield campus due to repeated threats of disruptions and violence. The safety of our students and staff remain paramount.

As the Executive of the University, we are deeply concerned about the rolling set of demands being made by protesters that is compromising the good governance and management of the University.  The current issue is related to the review of the UP language policy. No decisions have been made, as yet, on acceptance or approval of the proposed amendments. The current language policy will remain in place until any changes to this policy are officially approved.

I wish to make it clear that the proposals made by the task team include the use of English as the primary language of instruction, with Afrikaans and Sepedi being proposed for use in providing additional support to students.  This is in line with a proposal that the University promotes multilingualism as a means to facilitate students’ academic success, and to build social cohesion.  

In addition to the ongoing discussions, all staff, students, parents and alumni are being encouraged to send their comments and feedback to the University management via email. We have set up a dedicated email address for this purpose, and we would welcome your comment via this channel ([email protected]).  

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, as a member of our University community, for your concerns regarding the best interests of our students and the University. I would like to assure you that we continue to work towards resolution of the current issues and the academic success of all our students.

Yours sincerely

Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
- Author University Management

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