Wits academics honoured with national orders

Wits academics honoured with national orders

Great Hall_side

Wits University, Great Hall                                                                                              Photo:Stock Images

Four academics, past and present and alumnae were recipients of National Orders on Thursday, namely the late Prof Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng (President of Wits Convocation), Prof Helen Rees and Sylvia Glasser. (more…)

Wits alumni tackles university fees

Wits alumni tackles university fees

A group of illustrious former Wits University student leaders and alumni have launched South African Student Solidarity Foundation for Education (SASSFE). A fund to help facilitate access into higher education institutions and to raise funds towards fees for students who cannot afford them. (more…)

Suspended student “escorted off the campus”

Suspended student “escorted off the campus”

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A Wits student and audience member get into a physical altercation at transformation panel hosted by the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences on Thursday night. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

A physical altercation between a suspended Wits student and an audience member was just one of the many disruptions at a discussion about transformation at Wits University last night.

The discussion hosted by the Faculty of Health Sciences for their annual Ethics Alive Symposium included the Vice-Chancellors Adam Habib (Wits University), Max Price (University of Cape Town – UCT), Dan Kgwadi (North West University – NWU) and Mvuyo Tom (University of Fort Hare), along with struggle veteran and Wits alumnus George Bizos. Suspended student, Zama Mthunzi, who came into the venue wearing a t-shirt that read: Habib, Price kill Black lives,” was later removed by private security guards.

The unidentified man that he got into an altercation with was not removed leading to calls for his eviction from some remaining students who proceeded to interrupt the presentations of the speakers. 

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T-shirt says it all: During Prof. Kgwadi’s talk Wits student stands up and raises concerns

Habib then intervened and told the audience that “nobody is going anywhere”, and if the students could not let the speakers finish then they could leave.

Matters further escalated when another member in the audience said to the students “if you don’t want to be here then f**k off.”

In a statement released earlier today, Wits University confirmed that a suspended student had been “escorted off the campus.” Furthermore, the student was “reported to the police for violating a court order”. An audience member, who identified herself as an alumni of the university raised her concerns about the caustic relationship between the students, the vice chancellor and administration. “This policing of students, security and private militarisation is heart-breaking and only aggravates the relationship between the students and this administration,” she said.

Medical student, Nyabinghi Ngobeni, reminded Habib that last night’s event was the first time since last year’s protests that he has met with the students. “It’s disrespectful,” she said because the event should have been a student platform and everyone else there should have be disregarded.”

The gathering eventually concluded with an address by Wits alumnus and struggle stalwart Advocate George Bizos.

William Cullen and Wartenweiler flooded overnight

William Cullen and Wartenweiler flooded overnight

 

FLOOD: Water damage caused part of the ceiling at Wartenweiler library to collapse. Flooding from open taps has closed Wartenweiler William Cullen library. Photo: Provided

FLOOD: Water damage caused part of the ceiling at Wartenweiler library to collapse. Flooding from open taps has closed Wartenweiler and William Cullen library.                                                        Photo: Provided

The Willam Cullen and Wartenweiler libraries were flooded overnight after bathroom taps were left open during the water outage yesterday.

Michele Pickover, the principle curator for the historical papers research archives, said that the staff arrived this morning to flooding on the third basement of the William Cullen library where the archives are kept. Not all the archives were affected but the extensive collection of press cuttings used by researchers was damaged by water.

The collection covers the periods from 1940 to 2000 and captures a lot of the South African history. They have been removed from the original holding area to be dried.

“In the event that they are too badly damaged we will have to try digitise them to make them useful still for researchers,” said Pickover. The Rivonia Trial documents, court papers from the trial of former president Nelson Mandela and others, are safe as they are kept in a separate location.

According to Pickover, the university will be providing dehumidifiers to help lessen the dampness and humidity in the basement. In the long run though the department is looking to move to a new building that will house the archives as the current one is not ideal.

William Cullen library was closed today on the advisement of Property and Infrastructure Management Division as they wanted to inspect the danger of water and electricity to the computers and equipment in the building.

Wartenweiler library was partly closed today. It had two of its floors affected by the flood and kept these blockaded as a safety precaution for the students. They are still in the process of assessing the extent of the damage said Paiki Muswazi, the deputy university librarian.

Both libraries will be open tomorrow.