SUSANNA ANBU AND TACITA BLACK
As the University of Pretoria’s official newspaper, it is our role to actively and accurately report on student related issues, and it is our responsibility to hold the university accountable while keeping the students of UP informed.
As an attempt to highlight some of the issues students have had with online learning and being off campus during lockdown, PDBY had organized a live interview with David Kabwa, the President of the SRC, to ask questions and discuss points of interest brought up by our readers as students of UP. Unfortunately, the President of the SRC cancelled the live interview and invited us to send written questions instead.
PDBY has compiled the questions and will be giving the SRC the opportunity to respond. We will publish the answers as soon as we receive communication from the SRC.
Thank you to @tuks_facultyofmemes and @cry_at_up for assisting us by using their platforms and reaching out to students to have their concerns heard.
PDBY questions to the SRC president
- PDBY was informed by the Student Representative Council president, David Kabwa, that communication regarding the collection of graduates’ qualifications on Hillcrest campus and the emailing of the said qualifications to international students would be sent out during the course of either 6th or 7th What is the current status of this?
- In light of the discussions surrounding fee rebates, why has the SRC nor management undertaken a decisive plan of action regarding the discussion surrounding fee rebates, and when would such a decision be made? Will the fees be adjusted accordingly with regard to facility fees, as we currently do not use campus facilities with the current shift to online learning?
- Will there be efforts to redraft or revise a plan of action (POA) for each SRC portfolio, considering that the unprecedented lockdown has led to a shift in deadlines and timelines as members of the SRC had to prioritise the immediate needs of the students imposed by the lockdown and as a result many milestones stipulated in the POA have not been met?
- In a prior engagement between the SRC and PDBY, the SRC mentioned that “should the POA be updated, students can find it posted on the SRC website during the third quarter”. What is the current status of this now, as we enter the third quarter?
- A ruling published by the Chief Justice stipulated that the 1st student forum was postponed, this was then also extended to the 2nd student forum. When can students expect to engage with the SRC, in a direct manner, as done in a student forum? What interim measures have been discussed to mimic a student forum setup under the current circumstances?
- As of date, no financial budget of the current SRC office has been released since their terms in office began. Upon PDBY’s questioning of this, following the cancellation of the 2nd student forum, the SRC mentioned that this had to be revised in light of the lockdown, and mention that “students can expect a revised budget in the third quarter”. On what date can students expect the financial budget?
- Could the student body get a breakdown of how SRC funds were planned, prioritized, and spent before the lockdown and during the lockdown?
- As of date, no meeting minutes have been uploaded for the year 2020. PDBY’s querying of this on 9 April, with the SRC secretary, Ryan Haines yielded this response: “No minutes have been uploaded to the website yet. The SRC Secretary and Marketing, Media & Communication Officer have not yet accessed the website to be able to upload these documents. The SRC Secretary has however drafted several statements pursuant to the minutes of ordinary SRC meetings and have, in collaboration with the Marketing, Media & Communications Officer, distributed them on SRC platforms insofar as they are relevant to students.” Despite the statements released being a condensed form of the discussions undertaken at the meetings, in light of transparency, when can the student body expect meeting minutes being uploaded for 2020?
- Building on the aforementioned concept of transparency, students express the sentiment that the SRC has not been responsive to students who have reached out to them. Why has the SRC’s communication to the student body dwindled, through the progression of the academic year?
- What procedure should students follow to get the attention of an SRC member or communicate with them regarding concerns?
- PDBY queried the content of bills and amendments that were formulated and discussions during meetings of a body known as the Law Reform Council, with the Chief Justice on 9 April, which yielded the following response: “A decision to release a copy of the Bill etc. falls within the purview of the elected representatives of the Students, the SRC.” Taking into the account that the body known as the Law Reform Council, was not conceived as a formal committee, but rather a body encompassing members of the SRC and constitutional tribunal to streamline proceedings, when can students get access to details of the bills proposed and other discussions undertaken by this committee and why has this not been made available before?
- Numerous students have also expressed complaints of the erratic approach to online learning undertaken by lecturers that has had consequences on their academics. Have the staff undertaken a form of training in formulating procedures for online learning and communication that stipulates what is expected of them? Does a template pertaining to this exist?
- PDBY’s querying of the checkers vouchers as part of an MOU with Respublica, on 8 April, yielded the following response from the SRC president: “130 students were placed by the SRC. Vouchers were to be distributed in mid-March and would apply to students staying at Urban nest and Eastwoods village. Currently no distributions have begun.” What is the current status of the checkers vouchers that were stipulated in the MOU signed with Respublica?
- Taking into the account the limitations of the SRC in directing the same aid that South African students receive to international students under the current circumstances, what alternative measures are being formulated to ensure international students are being aided and not left behind?
- As we commence semester 2, it has been noted that no data allocations for August have been undertaken. Could the SRC comment on the measures being formulated that students can download and access lecture material during this time and when data allocations will occur?
Questions from the student body:
- For students who intend on crossing over to other degrees, but are greatly disadvantaged by the current circumstances and as a result may not have reached the requirements, will there be any changes to the transfer requirements this year?
- I am a master’s student who by the governments level 3 outline, qualifies to return to campus but have not yet been given permission to do so. Unfortunately, there is nothing my lecturer can do as this is a higher up problem and I need to access campus to continue my research. I was supposed to submit my thesis at the end of August and that is currently not possible. I am not the only one in this situation and I would appreciate some advice on what I could do about this?
- In light of upcoming SRC elections. I wanted to know why do we see the SRC and vying political candidates only during election times? The rest of the time they don’t really get around to do things unless it is a photo opportunity.
- When will UP students be allowed to utilize the resources on the sports campus?
- Will we be going back this semester? / is there a possibility for us to return to campus this year?
- Why has the SRC done little to nothing to support students in need and change university policies?
- What is the most recent news about Res Fees?
- Have lecturers attended a workshop about how to use blackboard collaborate?
- Why has the SRC president and the SRC been so quiet lately?
- Will dining hall students continue getting R1780 for the month of August?
- Zero rated clickup doesn’t exist for international students, what’s the plan?