Wits University is set to introduce a policy which sets a quota in residences.

Wits university is in the process of phasing in a new policy which will dedicate 50% of residence places for first year students. The policy, which will be implemented over two years, is expected to be phased in for the 2020 admissions cycle. 

“The university constantly reviews its policies, processes and programme to ensure that these are aligned with our objectives and particularly that these respond to the changing nature of the student body”, Dean of Student Affairs Jerome September told Wits Vuvuzela.

At present, the university is able to provide accommodation for 6 500 students for which it receives roughly 14 000 applications.

First year student BA student Thando Lukhele told Wits Vuvuzela she thinks the quota system is a good idea.

“A lot of us are not coming from Johannesburg, so to be accepted into Wits and still have to look for private accommodation must be daunting”, the Wits Junction resident. 

The remaining 50% of spaces will go to returning students from 2nd year onwards, according to the policy. 

Readmission will be determined on the basis of academic performance, gender, distance from the main campus, contribution to residence life like mentorship, tutoring and involvement in student leadership.

A senior student at Knockando residence who wished to remain anonymous said that he fears that most senior students will not have a place to stay next year and that the accommodation crisis will increase.

“The atmosphere around residences has now changed because senior students and current first years are living in fear that come next year they might be homeless due to the introduction of this new policy”, he said. 

September told Wits Vuvuzela that the needs of senior students will be taken care of. “We are in conversation with private accommodation providers to ensure that a minimum standard for residence life and support is also put in place in private accommodation particularly speaking to the needs of senior students”, September said.

September added that an off-campus accommodation liaison office is being established to ensure a smooth transition for those seniors not re-admitted to a Wits residence, to accredited private accommodation.