INCOMING Vice Chancellor Adam Habib has agreed to an open meeting between Witsies and management early next semester, to forge a connection between them and address student issues.[pullquote align=”right”]“You have turned the university into your personal spaza shop and are holding us all at your mercy.”[/pullquote]
The meeting was suggested by Wits Debating Union’s president, Jamie Mighti, who criticised the SRC for failing to represent students adequately. The idea behind the town hall-style meeting is to give students a chance to speak directly to management, as “we’re losing touch with each other”.
He made the suggestion two weeks ago during an interview with Habib and Wits SRC secretary, Tasneem Essop on Talk Radio 702. The interview followed an open letter Mighti posted on social media. The letter went viral, getting over 960 “likes” and being shared by nearly 400 people on Facebook alone.
In his letter, Mighti said the SRC had “chosen to ignore the ‘R’ in SRC” and questioned some of the decisions made in previous months. He said the SRC, while not incompetent, had no vision, discipline or capacity to deal with students’ issues.
“I love many of the people on the SRC as individuals. They are great people and will do well in politics. But we have had enough of your politics at our expense. You have turned the university into your personal spaza shop and are holding us all at your mercy.”
He said he was worried the SRC was dividing students and “alienating” themselves (the SRC) from management. “We need collaboration versus confrontation with the university.”
Essop said while she could agree there had been a breakdown in communication between the SRC and students, it was unfair to suggest the SRC was not doing anything for them. “We’re just not good at advertising our success.
“It’s a fallacy that we don’t think of more immediate issues,” she said, responding to Mighti’s claim the SRC was more active in international activism than in tackling on-campus issues.
“We’re not trying to dispel student issues … we’re putting suggestion boxes around campus. We also have an open-door policy.”
Essop said the SRC was happy to be part of the town hall meeting, and that it was in their diary.
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