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UJ clarifies the matter of suspended students linked to UJ Auditorium arson attack

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has noted, with concern, assertions reported in the media following the University’s statement regarding the suspension of 17 students suspected to be involved in the arson attack that saw the destruction of UJ’s Auditorium on 16 May 2016.

Unfortunately, many of the reports are characterised by poorly substantiated allegations by students, who claim UJ’s lack of consultation, creating the impression of widespread dissent and deep divisions afore the University’s internal disciplinary proceedings.

To clarify, the University is currently in discussion with the suspended students and will consider written representation for the suspended students to be granted limited access to the University’s campus for academic purposes. Naturally the suspended students are required to provide the University with all the facts and information which are relevant for the University to consider amending the terms and conditions of their suspensions. These include their academic schedules and time tables.

The University retains the right to terminate such conditional limited access or amend the conditions at any time it considers it to be necessary.

The University is nevertheless mindful of its responsibility not to prejudice the State’s criminal case and hence it will not be prudent to make detailed information about the evidence in its possession, public.

Furthermore, the latest desperate claims regarding fee increases at UJ are aimed at provoking our students yet these are far from the truth. The fact is that fees for 2017 are still under discussion as are measures to secure the sustainability of universities, and measures to achieve expanded funded access.

UJ has a proud track record of expanding funded access for the poor, working class and lower middle class. This is evidenced by the University’s many efforts including thus far raising R70M towards funding the access of students from the ‘missing middle’, contributing R20M to the UJSRC Trust Fund for the same cause of funded access for the ‘missing middle’, providing two meals daily for the full academic year to 3,500 needy students at a cost of R12M. The University also invest extensively in securing the academic progress of our students in this regard making available 3,500 tutors available to our 42,000 undergraduate students.

Like our student leaders, the University is therefore equally concerned about ensuring that our fees are affordable for the ‘missing middle’ in the short term and partially to fully fund in the medium term. The University is also equally concerned about its ability to sustainably fund its operations including paying for the salaries of its staff and sustaining excellence in its teaching, research and social impact. All of these concerns are receiving our considered and detailed attention and an announcement will be made shortly.

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