Vice chancellor Max Price has recommended that UCT establishÂ a forum similar to the TRC toÂ address transformation and the lack of integration at the university. RAâ€™EESA PATHER reports.
University of Cape Town (UCT) Max Price has suggested, in his personal capacity, that developing a TRC-based initiativeÂ where staff and students discuss their experiences and the marginalisation theyÂ feel on campus could help accelerate transformation at the university.
Speaking to The Daily Vox managing editor Faranaaz Parker on Thursday, Price said: â€œThe starting point is to bring together the people who are feeling passionateÂ about transformation and hear what they think should be done urgently.â€
Price said that the universityâ€™s Faculty of Health Sciences had instituted a TRC-style forum in 2002 to allow students and staff to expressed anger and hurtÂ thatÂ stemmed from apartheid during special discussion sessions.
It is this anger that is now starting to re-emerge, he said.
â€œWe now have more students and staff who come from that background and whoÂ want to express that,â€ Price said.
In recent days, students and staff who form part of the Rhodes Must Fall protest movement have condemnedÂ the university for discriminating against black students and staff membersÂ through institutional racism and slow-paced transformation. TheÂ movement has said that it is students and staff who should determine how transformationÂ is achieved rather than UCT management.
Student protestors at the university have demanded that the statue of CecilÂ John Rhodes be removed and that the university do moreÂ to promote staffÂ transformation.
Currently, the university does not employ a single full-time black female professor, andÂ students have issued concerns about racism among their classmates.
Mother City â€œunwelcomingâ€
Asked to comment on why black staff leave the university, Price saidÂ that, among other reasons, staff who have left the university say that both UCT and Cape Town areÂ unwelcoming to black professionals.
â€œSome people certainly feel that both the university and Cape Town â€“ Iâ€™m nowÂ talking about black African academic and non-academic staff â€“ they feel that this isÂ not a friendly environment for black African professionals,â€ Price said.
â€œThe environment itself is an obstacle to that integration … bothÂ the environment in the university and the environment in some parts of CapeÂ Town,â€ Price said.
In the short term, he said, the university plans to address transformationÂ through evaluating the monuments and architectural artifacts on campus.
â€œThe one issue which I think we will accelerate is the review of symbols andÂ names of buildings,â€ Price said.
Price said that the country’s small pool of black academics will take longer toÂ increase. According to Price,Â only 10% of professors in South Africa are black.