MARKO SVICEVIC UP’s Department of Facilities Management, in collaboration with UP’s Department of Residence Affairs and Accommoda...Read more
On 1 March, UP Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) Tuks Branch launched the Ubuntu Box initiative. The campaign, launched under the banner of “Your change can be the change”, aims to raise funds for students needing financial assistance by “drawing on the principles of Ubuntu.”
The project involves students donating money to raise funds for those who cannot afford tuition fees. According to DASO Chairperson Kwena Moloto, if every UP student (of which there are roughly 60 000) donated R5 on a weekly basis, R1.2 million could be raised every month for financial aid towards students. Ubuntu boxes, in which students can drop their change, are located across businesses on UP’s Hatfield campus. The campaign aims to have Ubuntu boxes across all UP campuses within the coming days. The initiative draws on the principles of Ubuntu, and “I am what I am because of who we all are”, in having students help other students. Awareness of the campaign has been catered for, with posters having been placed across the Hatfield Campus.
This year Brooklyn SAPS in collaboration with UP’s Department of Community Engagement have teamed up with informal car guards in the Hatfield area as part of a pilot project aimed at community engagement and improvement.
Brooklyn SAPS Station Captain, Colette Weilbach, said that the police carry a high burden of vehicle-related crimes. In order to address this, it was necessary for SAPS to “think out of the box”. Station Commander Brigadier Kushie Nair took the initiative to “befriend” car guards around the Hatfield area, involving them in uplifting programmes. This includes registering car guards into the programme, after which each car guard is issued with a name card displaying their photo.
De Goede Hoop, a new private Afrikaans residence, officially opened on 28 January. The residence is divided into De Goede Hoop Mans (men) and De Goede Hoop Dames (ladies).
Each section can house 48 students. The residence operates independently of UP’s official residences and according to their website, De Goede Hoop will participate in some of the cultural activities of the university, such as Serrie and Sêr. Candice Jooste, media relations officer at UP, confirmed that De Goede Hoop is a private residence. Jooste also said that the residence is not part of TuksRes and thus will not take part in events or activities that TuksRes organises.
This year, UP campuses will be undergoing large scale upgrading of facilities and spaces to facilitate more social learning environments. According to acting UP Executive member for Student Affairs, Prof. Carolina Koornhof, there is a pressing need for more space at UP. “Due to the financial situation UP finds itself in currently, there is a scaling down of property acquisition and instead spaces will be repurposed,” said Koornhof. UP is in the process of implementing the reutilisation of space, which includes the building of a new residence, relocation of student structures’ offices and revamping of selected areas.
On 22 June 2016, UP’s Council, the highest decision making body at UP, adopted a new language policy in which English was to be the only language of tuition.
On 15 December 2016, the Gauteng High Court rejected an application by civil rights group AfriForum to continue the use of Afrikaans at UP. In its case, AfriForum argued that the removal of Afrikaans, based on language, was discriminatory, constituted a withdrawal of existing student rights, and that removing Afrikaans at UP did not comply with section 29(2) of the Constitution. Judge Kollapen was not convinced of this argument, however, affirming UP’s decision to drop Afrikaans. According to UP, a key factor in removing Afrikaans was that “a preference for Afrikaans as a medium of instruction [had] fallen from around 88% in 1990 to just under 16% in 2016”. Remarking on the language policy change, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Cheryl de la Rey said in a statement, “As society changes we need to do what is best for our students and the greater community as a whole [and] this new policy will facilitate social cohesion and promote inclusivity.”