At the NMMU Senate meeting held on Monday, 2 November 2015, the Senate considered and discussed, inter alia, the recent student protests around affordable fees and more generally, the campaign for ‘free’ higher education in South Africa. A delegation of student leaders was invited to make a presentation on the core demands and issues that were raised during the recent protests at NMMU. After due consideration of these issues, against the background of the wider crisis of funding of universities, Senate is of the considered opinion that the cause for quality, affordable higher education is noble and just. Senate furthermore wishes to express its full support for a peaceful campaign that requires Government to live up to its stated policy commitment to an affordable and accessible higher education for all, and a sustainable and fully-funded National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to support academically-eligible students from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds. Senate also calls on Government to urgently address declining university Subsidy levels in order to enable universities to adequately meet their public mandates, including staffing, quality teaching, research, transformation and support for our students to realize the best of their abilities.
Senate furthermore resolved to commit itself to addressing challenges of transformation of the curricula, knowledge systems, teaching and learning, research and engagement practices, equity in the academy. We also invite students to become active participants in the co-creation of the academic system. Senate also wishes to state its strongest disapproval of the use of stun grenades, teargas and rubber bullets by the SAPS during the recent protests when students protested outside the university campus on the grounds that it constituted disproportionate and excessive use of force in the situation that prevailed. Senate furthermore wishes to affirm its belief that our university community must uphold both the right to peaceful protest and the rights of others choosing not to participate or showing solidarity on different terms. Above all, Senate wishes to state its strong commitment to a more equitable, accessible and transformed University system for all.
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