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UP Vice Chancellor and Principal to step down

 

CAREL WILLEMSE

In an email sent to staff on Monday 11 June, Prof Cheryl de la Rey announced she will be stepping down from her position as Vice Chancellor and Principal at the end of this year. Her contract was set to end in 2021.
Prof De la Rey’s early departure follows her acceptance of an offer to lead the University of Canterbury, New Zealand from 2019.
In her email to staff Prof De la Rey said, “After nine years at the helm of the University of Pretoria, I believe that, together with you, we have delivered on almost all the objectives I had set at the beginning of my tenure. The University has enhanced its academic stature, improved its international ranking, made significant strides in transforming its staff and student demographics, expanded and renewed its physical infrastructure and is in a sound financial position. Overall, I have experienced a very satisfying journey as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.”
Prof De la Rey was appointed as UP’s 12th Vice Chancellor and Principal in November 2009 following Prof Callie Pistorius who served in the position from 2001. In 2014 she was re-appointed for a second term which would’ve ended in 2021.
“It is with sadness that the University of Pretoria takes note of the VC’s decision to step down in favour of a new role” says Rikus Delport, University or Pretoria spokesperson. “We are proud of her achievement and for the recognition she has received by being elected to lead an international institution” says Delport.
The process for the appointment of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal will be dealt with in terms of the approved regulation and procedure. The Human Resources Committee of Council (HRCC) is responsible for setting a time frame for this process and are scheduled to meet next month. Council, Senate, and the Institutional Forum (IF) are key stakeholders in the process.
Once candidates have been identified and interviewed, the Senate and IF will vote on their suitability and the Joint Committee of Council, which consists of both HRCC and Standing Committee of Council members, will make a recommendation for the appointment. The appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal will be made by the Council.

 

SRC holds second quarterly Student Forum

Henri Uys

On 16 May, the UP SRC held its second quarterly Student Forum in the Engineering Building.

SRC President Kwena Moloto, delivered his quarterly report. Moloto commented on the SRC’s recent food drive and said, “The food drive was a massive success and ensured that no student was forced to study on an empty stomach. The food drive also demonstrated how effective Student Governance structures can be when working together for a common goal…Going forward the UP SRC intends on continuing to foster working relationships with all Student Governance structures to ensure that events such as the food drive continue to be impactful and effective.”

Moloto also spoke about this year’s registration period and the problems that some students were facing. He said, “With the commencement of the academic year, many returning students still weren’t registered. This was due to various factors. The most notable being historical debt and the NSFAS strike. As a result, on the 19th of February 2018 when the registration period ended, hundreds of students still hadn’t registered. After many engagements with the UP Executive it was decided that the registration period would be extended to the 2nd of March 2018. This was the first time in recent years that an SRC was able to extend the registration period. Furthermore, the SRC was able to negotiate that unregistered students be allowed onto campus in order to seek help from the SRC and attend class until the 2nd of March 2018.”

Read more: SRC holds second quarterly Student Forum

UP SHS provides papsmears

Correction: In a previous version of this article, it was written that “…this subsidy is limited to two students per UP campus per year.” However, Johan Maritz, Senior Manager at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), said that they “have funding to subsidise about 25 pap smear tests per quarter – regardless from which campus they are from”. Sr Coetzee verified that, “…we do 2 pap smears per campus per month not per year, which amount[s] to about 10 per month”. The article has since been corrected and Perdeby apologises for any inconvenience caused. 

 

Henri Uys

UP’s Student Health Services (SHS) provide Papanicolaou tests (pap smears) to students. These tests are used to test whether a female patient might have cervical cancer. If a student cannot afford a test, she can pay R55 only and the remaining R100 of the test’s cost is subsidised. However, Johan Maritz, Senior Manager at the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), said that they “have funding to subsidise about 25 pap smear tests per quarter – regardless from which campus they are from”. Sr Coetzee verified that, “…we do 2 pap smears per campus per month not per year, which amount[s] to about 10 per month”.

According to an article on Marie Stopes South Africa’s website, one in 41 South African women are affected by cervical cancer. Around 16.84 million women over the age of 15 are at risk of getting cervical cancer, according to Statistics South Africa. According to an article on Medicine.net’s website, there are no symptoms of cervical cancer in its early stages. When symptoms do appear, these may include unusual vaginal bleeding, painful sexual intercourse and longer or heavier menstruation periods. Perdeby spoke to SHS HOD, Sr. Hannelie Coetzee. Coetzee said that pap smears are used to detect cellular changes in the cervix, most of which are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). If something abnormal is detected, treatment can start early to prevent the cancer from spreading and causing more harm. Coetzee explained how the process works. Before a pap smear is administered, there are strict criteria which needs to be followed. Pap smears are expensive treatments, Coetzee said. A pap smear will only be administered if absolutely necessary. A full medical examination is done. This includes a pelvic examination.

Read more: UP SHS provides papsmears

SRC holds first mass meeting

Resego Molele

On 23 April, the SRC announced on their official Facebook page that they would be hosting a mass meeting on 8 May at the Piazza, Hatfield campus. However, on 8 May the SRC posted that the mass meeting had been postponed “due to health reasons of an executive member and other unforeseen circumstances”. Shortly after this, another announcement was posted saying that the meeting would take place at 13:30. “Please note [that] previous communications can be ignored,” the announcement read. As stated on a Facebook post, the agenda of the meeting was for “students to come forward with any issues they have”.

Chapter 7, Section 48 subsection (2) of the CSG states, “Mass meetings must be attended by all the members of the executive committee of the SRC and at least five (5) other members of the SRC. Failure of the aforementioned SRC members to attend a Mass Meeting is a violation of the Code of Conduct.” The meeting was presided over by 3 executive members: SRC Secretary, Soraia Machado; SRC Deputy Secretary, Kutlwano Molotsi; and SRC Treasurer, Duane-Jeffery van Wyk. Also in attendance were Media, Marketing & Communications SRC member, Kyle Goosen and SRC member for Postgraduates & International Student Affairs, Jodie Chikowi. The absence of all executive members of the SRC made the mass meeting unconstitutional. “Although it is unconstitutional, any issues raised here will be taken with the serious intent that is needed for it,” said Machado.

According to Section 23, subsection 2(b)(v) of the CSG, the SRC President “Must attend and do whatever is reasonably necessary to ensure the success of mass meetings and presides over mass meetings.” Section 23, subsection 2(d)states that “During any period of absence of the President and Deputy President or inability to perform their duties for whatever reason, the SRC Secretary acts as President.” In this case, Machado acted as President of the SRC.

Read more: SRC holds first mass meeting

SpeakOut UP tackles sexual harassment

Correction: In a previous version of this article, a source’s surname Laluma Shongwe, was incorrectly stated as Laluma Chabedi. The article has since been corrected and Perdeby apologises for any inconvenience caused. 

 

Mbali Mkhithi

On 8 May, a demonstration was held by Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) at the Student Centre on Hatfield Campus where students protested using slogans such as “Femicide is a South African Curse”, “No to women killing” and “Blow the whistle on the likes of Mdu Manana”. According to PASMA secretary Olwethu Dlanga, the aim of the protest was to raise awareness about femicide, which is the killing of women by men. Dlanga said that, “People are not educated about the dangers of masculinity, misogyny and patriarchy and its toxicity. Violence perpetuated on women by men has been normalized by society to an extent whereby people are becoming desensitized to these things.” During the mass meeting which was held on the same day, questions were raised concerning the safety of victims who are forced to live within the same space as their perpetrators on campus.  Another speak out session was organised by the Hatfield Studios executive committee and held on 9 May at Hatfield Studios Lounge. The main point of discussion was, “Are we safe?” The guest speakers at this event were senior UP students Tshegetso Moepi, Refiloe Mofokeng, Letlotlo Chabedi and Laluma Shongwe. The speak out session aimed to address issues that women face around Hatfield, to share lived experiences of student assaults and the impact that the current clubs in the area have on student safety outside campus. Chabedi explained that, “There were multiple events which influenced the team to hold the speak out session but one topic which we all felt strongly about are the dangers which women face (even in an academic environment like Hatfield) and the national growth of femicide which is disregarded across the country. An event which was discussed is the frequency at which young women’s drinks are being spiked around the social spaces in Hatfield and the terrible events that followed as result of this.”

Read more: SpeakOut UP tackles sexual harassment

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