Dear colleagues and students
I am writing to inform you about efforts by an organised section of the student community to disrupt academic and other activities at NMMU today.
We were informed verbally about these intentions last night (Tuesday) after a group of students purporting to represent student organisations, including DASO, SASCO, EFFSC indicated that they would be staging protests on campuses in support of various institutional demands and as part of a national drive to ‘shutdown’ universities. You may have read or watched this campaign on various media.
It should be noted that no attempt was made to follow University rules regarding protest action, including guarantees of the safety of others not partaking in protest and university property, and none of the existing channels of negotiation and consultation had been fully utilised or exhausted.
Under these circumstances, it may not be possible to conduct normal business on our campuses, and I am therefore advising students and staff to exercise due caution in moving between and on campuses where access is permissible. We will seek to meet with student leaders to listen to and deliberate over their grievances once stability is established.
While NMMU fully upholds and respects the right to peacefully protest and to freedom of expression as this is enshrined in our Constitution, it also protects the equal rights of others not participating in protest against intimidation and from exercising their inalienable rights. It is for this reason that we live in a Constitutional democracy.
I wish to extend my apologies to all students and staff who may feel their rights are infringed and will ask Faculties to make adaptive arrangements in the light of possible disruptions in our academic programme.
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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