Message to staff

Posted on September 26, 2016


Dear Colleague,


Earlier today we experienced an escalation in student protests at several universities, including the University of Pretoria, with a call for a so-called ‘national shutdown’. Some of the protests have included violence or threats thereof and as a result, several universities, including Wits and UCT, have been closed indefinitely.

This morning, despite the presence of the police and an interdict against unlawful protest, a group of demonstrators continued to blockade some entrances and disrupt classes on the Hatfield Campus. There were also incidents of arson and other violent behaviour. Given the size of our institution and the multiplicity of campuses, it is impossible to have a heightened security presence across the entire campus. As a result, we have decided to move the Spring Recess forward. However, we have extended the period, from 27 September and the university will reopen on 10 October 2016 as planned for the start of the fourth quarter. We have also requested that students leave their residences during this time.. 

We simply do not want to risk the safety of any of our staff and students.

When we resume after the recess, we will follow the fourth quarter programme. I am asking you to work with your respective deans and faculty heads to see what plans can be made for students to catch up with classes and tests. All plans must be communicated directly with your students. The aim is to explore all available avenues to resume the academic programme so as to get back on track in time for final examinations.

We are working with our colleagues and government regarding 2017 fees in the light of the national conversation around free education. During this time of recess, we will also continue our engagements with staff and student bodies.

We will keep you informed of developments in this regard. Thank you for your patience and apologies again for any inconvenience.


Prof Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor and Principal


- Author University Management

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