Below is an excerpt from Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price’s latest statement to all UCT staff and students on some of the immediate transformation plans for the university, following the fall of the Rhodes statue:
At a special sitting on 22 April 2015, the University Council considered several proposals tabled on behalf of the SRC by the President, Mr Ramabina Mahapa.
Ø Council agreed to establish a task team (including student members) to review the names of buildings and works of art across campus, with the goal of creating an environment that embraces the diversity of the UCT community.
Ø A second task team is to be established to review the current function, role and powers of the Institutional Forum, with the goal of figuring out how this statutory body can play a more effective role in driving and negotiating transformation.
Ø A review will be undertaken this year of the functioning of DISCHO (the Discrimination and Harassment Office).
Ø The Curriculum Review Task Team, which is a subcommittee of the Teaching and Learning Committee, is extending its membership to students, and a different framework for thinking about curriculum reform is being developed.
Ø There will be a review of the Transformation Services Office – its structure, resourcing and functioning.
· Faculties have been encouraged to hold open assemblies and fora where students are encouraged to talk about their experience within the faculty. These have already happened in Health Sciences and Law, both with important contributions from students.
· The employment equity plan for 2015 to 2020 has been intensively debated and will come to Senate and Council in June.
· A review is being undertaken on the functioning of the system of employment equity representatives, particularly in selection committees.
· A project has been proposed and is seeking funding to invest heavily in ensuring that the career paths of every black academic in the junior ranks is individually mapped out, with requirements for the next promotion clearly spelled out with a plan for personal development, including pairing up with senior mentors.
· The composition of the promotions committees is already being reviewed by all faculties in time for this year’s promotions round in September, to improve transparency and rebuild trust in the fairness of these committees.
· Transform UCT (a grouping of black academic staff) participated in the annual Academic Heads of Department workshop on the role HODs can play in transformation at department level.
· We are proposing a day-long workshop or summit where all interested groups can help design the agenda for tackling transformation.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive statement of our transformation plan, but to indicate that things are on the move with renewed energy, and we should not let complex disciplinary dilemmas distract or stall us.
Excerpt copied directly from Dr Price’s latest statement to UCT staff and students on 16 May. Do you have any further transformation suggestions or comments? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we receive enough comments/suggestions we will make a follow up post including these ideas. Any new and feasible suggestions will be forwarded to the SRC who are in contact with the university council.