The painful price of education



October 17, 2016
The painful price of education

HOSTILE: UCT Vice Chancellor Max Price confronts students

UCT devises crisis plan, Vice Chancellor punched.

UCT’s Vice Chancellor Max Prince became the latest victim of #FeesMustFall violence after he was allegedly punched by a protester.

A shocked Price was whisked away by cops who then fired stun grenades into a mob who were trying to stop him from leaving a meeting, UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger says.

The drama unfolded outside the Bremner building at UCT on Friday afternoon as Price sought to negotiate a solution to reopen the varsity without a need for extensive security.

Kruger says Price, who was accompanied by two members of the executive, said he wanted to leave to attend another meeting when the incident occurred.

“Unfortunately, some of the protesters encircled him and started pushing and pulling him,” she explains.

“Dr Price attempted to walk away when he received two punches to the body. A colleague attempted to protect the Vice-Chancellor. Members of the South African Police Service [SAPS] stepped into the group to escort Dr Price away.

“Unfortunately, the scuffles and pushing escalated and police officers used stun grenades to disperse the group.”

She says the group left and went to disrupt a soccer match taking place on a nearby field.

She said charges would be laid if authorities managed to identify the perpetrator.

“In our view what happened to Dr Price constitutes assault,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Price yesterday announced a plan to save the academic year for non-protesting students wanting to finish their studies.

UCT is opened today following weeks of violent protests by students calling for no fee increase.

“If classes start [on Monday], we can still save the teaching term and write the exams between 7 and 25 November,” Price says.

“If we do not return [ton Monday], the academic term is lost — we are out of time.”

Lectures would be conducted online, while the library and Jammie shuttle would operate.

He added security will be deployed if any disruptions take place.

Meanwhile, CPUT has already moved operations to the Wingfield Military Base in Goodwood.

Last week, arson attacks at two of the institution’s campuses disrupted classes.

Spokeswoman Lauren Kansley says classes resumed on Saturday.

“By Wednesday exams will be beginning. Staff is continuing to process applications for next year so all is not lost,” she says.

UWC will today be hosting a “day of dialogue’’ with students, staff and other stakeholders to try and find a way to resume academic activities.

Protests continued at UCT today.

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