Wits University and its Student Representative Council have finally reached an agreement in relation to issues raised during the latest #FeesMustFall protests which resurfaced over a week ago.
Protesting students have been disrupting registration processes on campus, while calling for all students to be exempt from paying registration fees this year, including students who still owed fees to the university and were not allowed to register for 2016 as a result.
Wits students were joined by others from the University of Johannesburg, Unisa and the University of Pretoria who began their own protests with similar demands.
Wits said in a statement that the following measures will be implemented to help get more returning students to register:
- All students who owe the university between R1 and R1 000 will be allowed to register in 2016. The outstanding debt for 2015 will be rolled over to 2016. The university estimates that this concession will benefit 3 607 students this year.
- All students who can show that they are fully funded for 2016 will be allowed to register. They will have to sign an acknowledgement of debt for fees owed in 2015.
- The University will work with the SRC to raise funds to clear the debt of approximately 1 284 students who owe the university between R1 001 and R5 000. If this effort is successful, these students will then be allowed to register in 2016.
- The SRC and the university will approach the provincial government to cover the debt of about 1 418 students who owe the university between R5 001 and R20 000. If these efforts are successful, these students will be allowed to register for the 2016 academic year.
The #FeesMustFall movement’s list of 11 demands included, apart from the debt issue, that education be made free, that no police be present during protests and that students be given access to academic records whether they are indebted or not, among others.
“We trust that these arrangements will go a long way towards enabling the majority of our students to register for 2016 without hindrance,” the university said.
Wits said that a number of other related issues that have been agreed upon with the SRC will be announced later today.[Image – CC Wikipedia Commons]