‘Wapad’ wheels on the roll again

The editor of Wapad, the student paper of the North West University’s Potchefstroom campus is happy that the newspaper will soon be back in business.

But Kevin du Plessis, Wapad editor said: “We have many things to sort out in the coming weeks to protect Wapad’s independence for coming generations of student journalists.”

The paper’s journalists already had many discussions underway about the paper’s independence thanks to the support they received from their Communications lecturers.

Du Plessis said the social media response and its role with regard to the newspaper’s reinstatement was their “saviour”. “The word got out so quickly and it served as a great platform for discussion.”

[pullquote align=”right”]“the right of a student newspaper to appear without editorial interference was emphasised by campus management”[/pullquote]

Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday that the campus’s marketing and communications department announced the newspaper would appear again on October 10.

Pukke spokesman Johan van Zyl said about R 40 000 of the advertising fees were collected. The outstanding debt would be settled by campus management to ensure that the next editorial team do not start their year in debt.

Van Zyl said management decided that Wapad could be published again because some of the money had been collected.

Last week media reported that the Pukke’s marketing and communication department told Du Plessis that neither a printed edition nor an online edition of Wapad would be allowed for the rest of the year, until almost R80 000 in outstanding advertising fees were collected.

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Du Plessis who said the decision to ban the newspaper was a plan to control the newspaper’s content to ensure it upholds the university’s reputation and that it was a plan to control media distributed on campus.

Beeld reported that Van Zyl said the newspaper’s expenses must be sustained by advertising income and “the right of a student newspaper to appear without editorial interference was emphasised by campus management as well as the fact that any newspaper can appear with a sustainable income.”

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UCT blogger “exposed”

CORRECTION: The statements of Qamran Tabo were taken from a report compiled by Kieran Duggan, David Horscroft, and Ben Steenhuisen. In an email to Wits Vuvuzela Tabo claims that quotes attributed to her in the report were based on hearsay. Wits Vuvuzela would like to emphasise that it did not speak with Tabo directly and apologises if this was in any way implied in the article.

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A current University of Cape Town student has been exposed as the alleged administrator of the controversial UCT Exposed blog which published academic grades, private information and correspondence of UCT students.

Pabie Tabo, also known as Qamran Tabo, is thought to be the originator of the blog and facebook page. Earlier this year, Tabo was embroiled in controversy for an articke in the UCT student newspaper called ‘the most attractive race poll’.

A report detailing her alleged involvement in the blog was compiled by UCT students Kieran Duggan and David Horscroft, as well as former UCT Computer Science employee Ben Steenhuisen. They wrote that the blog “publically name[d] and shame[d] people based on their marks or dress sense, accused UCT members of racism, and sexually objectified other UCT students”. It caused emotional distress to several of the blog’s targets, one of whom talked of suicide.

The “honeypot”

Duggan, Horscroft and Steenhuisen investigated the site by contacting the site’s administrator, named as “John Smith”. They shared a link hosted on their own server, which promised “juicy information” if clicked on.

From this link, known as a trap or “honeypot”, they were able to determine the geographical position of the computer used by the administrator when “he” accessed the link. They traced it back to a computer in UCT’s Computer Sciences building. During the time the link was accessed, the computer was logged into the UCT profile of Qamran Tabo.

Tabo responded to the report by denying any association with the blog. She alleged that a third party accessed her UCT login profile to publish information. “I let someone use my PC in the lab on Friday. It was after a Maths test and I even have an alibi.”

The researchers who compiled the report said it would be “relatively easy for UCT investigators to confirm or deny whether or not it was Tabo who accessed her UCT profile from the computer lab in question by reviewing security camera footage”.

Earlier in the year Tabo conducted a poll with the stated purpose of discovering which race was most attractive to UCT students looking for love. In an article, called Is love colour-blind?, she claimed the poll found Caucasians to be most attractive to other races.

New Res complex for Witsies

A new residential complex for the University of the Witwatersrand will be opened in 2014. The new residence comes in light of the increase in the number of students at the university.

The number of residence students has increased by 100%,over the passed ten years, bringing the total to 5900 resident students.

Noswal Hall is situated in Stiemens street, opposite The Braamfontein Centre and Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Noswal Hall is a self-catering student residence, providing accommodation for about 400 students and the main objective is to accommodate more senior students.

Mahube Mogashoa, third year law student applied for residency at Noswall Hall and said she is looking forward to the opening of the residence.

“I am really excited about the new residency, it’s like junction except it’s a bit cheaper and it’s in Braamfontein and it has great facilities especially fit for a senior student,” she said.

According to Nazime Randerra, acting head of residences the idea of a new student residence was supported by the Department of Higher Education and Senate to accommodate as many students as possible. The apartments consist of two-, three- and four single room units and are equipped with a bed and fridge.

The residency also has internet connectivity, a television room, computer lab, study room and kitchen area. The building was assessed by the Johannesburg City Council to ensure that it meets the health and safety standards and identify escape routes. Wits does not own the land, but has the option to buy the land in the future.

Wits excels at budget speeches

Wits has the highest number of candidates in the semi final round of the annual Nedbank and Old Mutual budget speech competition.

Witsies are in the lead with eleven candidates and the University of Cape Town and North West University respectively with six candidates each.

The competition is divided into two separate categories (undergraduate and postgraduate). The undergraduate category consists of five students and the postgraduate category which consists of six Witsies.

Undergraduates had to write a 2000 word essay on the causes of youth unemployment and offer solutions to the national crisis. Postgraduate students had to write a 3500 word essay about how the government can deal with the electricity cuts and shortages and the increase of electricity prices.

The essays are judged on academic merit and the final category winners are announced in February by the Minister of Finance.

The competition was first launched 42 years ago and gives economics students from different universities an opportunity to compete against each other for a cash prize of R30 000 in the undergraduate category and R150 000 in the postgraduate category.

“We are extremely proud of our students. I think having the most number of semi-finalists in the competition shows that our students worked hard and submitted a number of good essays,” said Janine Dingley organiser of the competition.

We guide students through the structure of their argument, formatting and referencing. We see this as a valuable writing experience. However, students have to research the topic on their own and formulate their own arguments. I think for most of our students, doing the initial research in class makes it easier for them to write the essay and enter the competition.

Once the finalists are announced, the school of economics and managements puts them in touch with former finalists to help them prepare for the final round of the competition.

Terry van Staden secured third position in 2012 and has secured third position in this years postgraduate category.

Witsies have done well in the budget speech competition over the last year three Witsies collectively won R95 000 for their essays.

Wits has produced 5 winners in the post graduate category since the beginning of the competition in 1972

Shaheen Seedat took first place in the postgraduate category in 2010 and Tshepo Machele claimed the undergraduate prize in 2008.