The Wits University Student Representatives Council (SRC), president has accused the institution’s management of trying to silence the SRC position on the reappointment of vice chancellor, Professor Adam Habib.
Kefentse Mkhari took to Twitter on Sunday, April 2, to tweet, “Once again the @WitsUniversity is trying to silence us by refusing to release our statement on our position that @AdHabb must not come back”.
Mkhari confirmed that he sent the tweet and added that the SRC statement on the possible second term of the vice chancellor (VC), which was expected to have been released 2-3 weeks ago was not done so by University registrar, Carol Crosley. Mkhari declined to comment on the contents of the statement but did say that the SRC is not in favour of Habib running for a second term as vice chancellor.
According to Mkhari, Crosley said could not release the statement she felt “that there would be conflict of interests”, considering that the statement is about Professor Habib who ultimately approves the release of these statements.
According to Mkhari, the registrar then decided to pass this responsibility to the Chairperson of the Wits Council, Dr Randall Carolissen, who expressed concerns about the tone used in the statement and requested that it be changed.
“We found it problematic when we were told to add or remove some things in the statement because management cannot dictate what, when or how we supposed to communicate with the students”. Mkhari said.
Crosley said the “The Registrar’s Office is responsible for distributing official communication to students from the University. This is usually information pertaining to safety and security, academic activities, funding and/or residence and accommodation matters”.
She added that “I would be in breach of my fiduciary duty if I were to accede to the demands of the SRC President to circulate a communique which breaches University policies. I have suggested that the SRC make use of the numerous other platforms and modes of communication available to them, including social media, to express their views”.
Mkhari told Wits Vuvuzela that their statement will be released regardless. He said the SRC plan on using social media platforms while they are still fighting for it to be released formally and officially.