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A number of students who stayed in Wits residences before the lockdown face an unexpected challenge as lectures commence on Monday April 20.
Wits is set to introduce new qualifications for 2017’s academic year.
OVER the years, Wartenweiler Library on Wits’ East Campus has continually been a concern for students hoping to get some studying done. On a warm day, the four-level building is just too hot.
Students have sent complaints to the Wits Vuvuzela about this and are struggling to study because they feel that the air conditioning in the library is insufficient.
“It’s really great when it’s cold, likes now, but otherwise it’s too hot to even think,” said Nicole Stern, 1st year BA student.
“You find yourself falling asleep because this heat makes you drowsy and the heat just makes you want to fall asleep and its really annoying, it would be fantastic if they could actually turn the air con on,” said Katherine Stewart, 1st year BA student.
Stewart is a first year and came to Wartenweiler library in the first week of school about three weeks ago and said it’s been like this since the first day.
Not all students find the building uncomfortable, “It doesn’t really affect me at all, I don’t get cold and I don’t get hot, I feel like it keeps me pretty alright,” said Crystal Poulter, 2nd year BSc. “There isn’t enough circulation so at times I get sleepy,” she added.
Poulter said it just needs more movement of air because right now its stagnant but she does not necessarily have a problem with the room temperature.
First-year BSc student, Lebogang Dladla, noticed the issue at other Wits venues. “We have this issue in classes as well, even at education campus.”
Dladla added that her studies are affected because she has to now add additional pressure on herself to concentrate harder because of the heat. She thinks that a temperature system that can be regulated would be the best solution.
Another first-year student studying a BA at Wits, Selelo Maake, doesn’t see an issue. “It seems quite alright to me and I’ve been here a couple of times and it’s quite comfortable for me. I’m all dandy,” he added.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Karasen Gangan, technical inspector at the Property and Infrastructure Management Division (PIMD), to ask him about the ventilation issues.
He was surprised we were receiving complaints since the air conditioning was repaired last Wednesday. Contractors had come in to fix the cooling tower control panel, which was not working.
When Wits Vuvuzela went into the library on Tuesday this week, the air was still stuffy. Some staff in the library were using personal fans.
On the first three floors of the library building, which are the busiest ones, the air conditioning does not appear to be working, however on the fourth floor, which is set up as an office space for Wartenweiler library management, the situation seems to be much better.
Gangan responded to that by saying that the fourth floor works on the same system but parts of it work on its own, and that it too has to be repaired frequently.
He and some staff in the library attribute the faulty air conditioning system to the age of the building which is now over 70 years old. When asked if the system can be replaced, Gangan said, “We can look into that, but that’s a costly exercise.”
“At the moment it’s serviced and maintained for the regular items but if there’s anything major that fails, then we’ll obviously look into replacement,” he added
According to the inspector and contractor, the issue “this time was the v-belt, which is very much similar to a fan belt” had snapped and would be repaired by Wednesday morning.
THIRD-year student Rosa Moll studied abroad in Paris as part of an exchange programme to broaden her horizons. However, when Moll returned to Wits she learned she was not being credited for all of her courses.
Moll took up seven subjects in the fields of archaeology and anthropology at a third year at the Paris X Nanterre La Defense in France. The courses at the French university were to be credited at a second year level at Wits.
Ismail Barudin, programme administrator at the Wits International Office, told Wits Vuvuzela that Moll’s case was being investigated. He said the error was not done on the Wits side and suggested a mistake was made by Paris X Nanterre.
Barudin said that when students apply for the Wits Study Abroad Programme, it is important that they sit down with their faculty registrar and look at the courses they plan on taking at the foreign university.
The students should make sure that the course is available and that they will be credited for their courses before they study abroad. A form approving the courses at the exchange university must be checked and stamped by the faculty registrar.
Barudin said students need to be aware that some courses are only partially credited, and exchange students would still have to take up another course at Wits to fulfil their point requirements.
One of the requirements of the programme is that a student needs to be registered at Wits and pay the full tuition fee at the university. In cases where the academic year at the exchange university does not coincide with the Wits academic year, students should register over the phone while still abroad.
Most of the partnerships and exchange programmes are open to the humanities students.
Barudin explained that it is difficult to have exchange programmes in faculties that have their own professional councils because there could be a difference in the way the professions are practised in different countries.
Barudin said that cases such as Moll’s are not common and that they have not come across any other issues.
Other than then credits mishap, Moll said “the experience was memorable” and that she enjoyed her studying in Paris.