The Wits SRC took their fight against min-year exclusions directly to the Senate, hoping to resolve the issue before exams start.

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) led a spirited demonstration from the Great Hall to Solomon Mahlangu House on Thursday, May 16, as they challenge the university’s mid-year registration cancellations policy.  

These exclusions happen when students are unable to meet financial and/or academic obligations. In particular, cases where students are unable to settle financial difficulties which prevented them from registering in the beginning of the year.   

The SRC protested alongside students from the Wits Liberated Zone, who have demanded that the university divest from ties with Israeli companies and stand in solidarity with those in Palestine, amid Israel’s seven-month assault in Gaza, which has seen over 35 00 killed.  

Addressing attendees in front of the great Hall steps, Wits SRC Academic Officer, Atlegang Motshabi, said: “The reason why these two motions make sense to collaborate is because the real reason for mid-year exclusions is capitalism. That’s why they’re scared to take a stance on Palestine, because of the system of capitalism.” 

The SRC led the group toward the Senate Room in attempt to stage a sit-in as the meeting took place.  However, Wits security closed the doors to the venue, leading to a standoff between the SRC leaders and Wits Campus Protection Services (CPS). This caused a delay as many students were not able to enter with some having to write tests in other parts of the same building

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after the meeting, Motshabi said their motion had not been tabled or voted on, and they were advised to tweak errors on their proposal. 

“The Deputy Vice Chancellor then told us that after we are done with it, we can take it to Senate Teaching & Learning, and she would then grant an emergency meeting, to make sure that everything happens before June results come out.”   

Motshabi said the plan was to be proactive and prevent mid-year exclusions before it was too late. “In March we started consulting, because before you draft a proposal you have to go on a consultative process, you need to speak to different stakeholders then you need to take into consideration the Senate meetings and dates. The one that happened in March was too early (because) we had not finished the consultative process. So that’s when we said that May 16 is proper because it’s right before exam season.” 

With the exams starting in two weeks, all eyes will be on the outcome of this process.