• Today is: Friday, September 22, 2017

As told to : I am completely against #FeesMustFall protests

Laura Pisanello
October02/ 2016

A Wits student expresses her lack of support for the #FeesMustFall protests.

The amount of negativity and hate that I have for this protest is beyond belief. Before I get accused of having “white privilege” I’d love to state that I fully pay for my own university fees, without help from my parents, a bursary or loan. I work very hard doing promotional jobs, hostessing and waitressing so it is possible to pay for school fees no excuses. It just takes hard work.

Wits likes to pretend everything is okay and insists class will carry on as normal. They encourage us to come to class, yet when you try to leave the university you get attacked. My car is full of hand prints from where students slapped and hit my car and tried to push it. Beer was poured onto my car and because I wanted to leave the premises I was accused of “intimidating” the protesters. Meanwhile police and security watched this happen and did nothing about it.

Interviews with students show the protesters saying that they are non-violent yet evidence shows otherwise. Me needing to ditch my car and sneak out is not something I, nor anyone else, should be going through.

Protesters are being unreasonable and unrealistic. Firstly, inflation is an unavoidable reality. Secondly, free tertiary education won’t happen overnight and I believe it is really wishful thinking. I think they should rather focus on implementing free primary and high school education like many countries do (since basic education is a right whereas university is not a necessity).

I don’t know why they are striving for free tertiary education when primary and secondary education isn’t free yet. Surely if universities become free then the standard requirements for being accepted will be raised even higher? Then there will be protests about how poverty stricken applicants are being excluded because their basic education was just that – basic.

The problems with the protests range from destruction of property, the endangerment, intimidation and attacks on other students and police doing nothing (which I don’t entirely blame them for as the media portrays them as the villains and the protesters as the victims). Wits administration is also sloppy at letting us know what is going on.

I hate to say this but this is really an attitude of entitlement, I have had a job since I was 15 and a half years old. I took a gap year after matric and saved money because my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my university fees.. Free tertiary education is a pipe dream that takes steps and years to arrange, especially in a country like South Africa with so many political, economic and racial problems. This protest infringes on people’s rights, security and freedom of movement.

People work hard to pay for university whether it’s a student or a parent and no student should be harmed and attacked. These protesters need to get a grip and realise they just need to work hard, nothing in life comes for free. I don’t know what makes them think they’re so special that they deserve to study at a top ranking university in exchange for destroying its property and harming other students and staff.

 

Laura Pisanello