Students from the Drama department had the most complaints at the first Wits School of Arts student imbizo (meeting).
At an imbizo hosted by the Wits School of Arts (WSOA) student council on Monday afternoon, students from the drama department took the opportunity to file their frustrations. The imbizo was intended to acquaint students with the council, which was elected three months ago, and brainstorm ideas on future activities.
One of their more serious complaints was that drama students felt that they did not have enough access to the Wits theatre. Students are not allowed to use the theatre unless it is during an exam or an actual production.
“The Wits theatre is a separate entity from the school of arts. It functions as a business that need to generate profit.”
Each student is only given 30 minutes to familiarise themselves with the theatre stage before their exam starts. Students said their performance marks suffer because 30 minutes is not enough time to familiarise themselves with the space and use it efficiently.
Chairperson of the WSOA student council Nolo Mmeti, said they have looked into the problem before. “The Wits theatre is a separate entity from the School of Arts. It functions as a business that needs to generate profit.” For this reason there is very little they can do about it. He also said when students are allowed to use the theatre often things are broken and equipment is not returned on time which leaves them with very little room to negotiate around the matter.
Students also complained that the School rules state that students are to receive their provisional marks a week before their exams but this does not happen for all departments. While others said that some lecturers do not give clear criteria of how students will be assessed. One student went on say that“sometimes I think marks are dependent on how close one is to the lecturer”.
The council gave feedback on some of the requests that they received last semester and assured students that all new matters would be looked in to.
From language barriers between students and lecturers, to marks that are released with students names, students felt that council had done a great deal in raising real student issues with management and getting timely results.
Mmeti said they hope to have more of these imbizos to “instil a collaborative culture” between students and their council. He also said there isn’t enough “artist collaborations between students of various study years” and they hope to change that.
Students are encouraged to keep an eye on the Wits School of Arts social media sites to find out about events and information regarding their various departments.