#OccupyStellenbosch aims to disrupt exams at Stellenbosch University

    Students are attempting to disrupt exams at Stellenbosch University (SU) under the banner of #OccupyStellenbosch. The group comprises of students from SU, the University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Cape University of Technology (CPUT).

    Exams at SU commenced on 25 October with tight access control and heightened security.

    However, not all students have been granted entry into the exams.

    Students at SU need a 40% predicate mark (attained by writing tests and completing assignments throughout the module) before they are allowed to write exams. However, a student involved with #OccupyStellenbosch told The Daily Vox that, due to this year’s Fees Must Fall protests, some students were unable to attain the 40% predicate mark. Some students were arrested or suspended, while others could not study in a volatile atmosphere and could not write their tests.

    “We need to allow everyone to write exams because people who have been affected by protests are not allowed to write,” said the student who also isn’t allowed to write due to not having achieved the requisite 40%.

    To highlight the unfairness, #OccupyStellenbosch are planning to disrupt exams and shut down the campus. On Wednesday, protesters planned to move between residences, mobilising students and making them aware of their plight because, according to the student, “a lot of people in Stellenbosch are not aware of what’s going on.”

    The #OccupyStellenbosch protesters are also calling for free, decolonised and Afrocentric education, insourcing and the lifting of interdicts, suspensions and expulsions and the release of arrested students.

    Some students have allegedly been barred from the entire town of Stellenbosch and not just the university.

    Management’s response has been to tighten security measures and continue with the exam schedule.

    Students are usually given two opportunities to write an exam, which the university maintains is sufficient for students affected by the protests. It will not be offering students a third chance to write exams, but would offer “greater leniency when considering access to the second exam opportunity”.

    Vice-Chancellor Wim dear Villiers said in a statement, “a third examination in January 2017 would be impractical, given the logistical challenges associated with administering an examination at the start of a new academic year”.

    There is a heavy police and private security presence at the university, along with the infamous “men in black” – the name given to the private security on SU’s campuses. Police are allegedly accompanying protesting students around the campus.

    There is an interdict in place against protest action at SU and the student told The Daily Vox that they are expecting people to be arrested.

    Editor’s note: this story erroneously stated that students had been offered a third opportunity to write exams. This has been corrected. 

    Featured image via @FeesMustFallWC on Twitter