CUT tells their side of the story

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Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Henk de Jager addressing the media at the ZR Mahabane Building, Reception Hall this morning. Photo: Pierce van Heerden

60 students from the Central University of the Free State (CUT) were arrested today at about 12:30. This is According to a statement released by CUT, following numerous attempts by police to prevent them from disrupting classes, academic and administrative processes and intimidation of employees and students.

The arrest were made following a media briefing held earlier today on the Bloemfontein campus as a result of “grave concern” to the institute after “blatant inaccuracies” that some of the students have presented in the media over the past 24 hours.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Henk de Jager told members of the media that the institute has to date received R64 million from NSFAS. “Thus far, CUT has paid over R93.4 million to all financially and academically deserving students.  The difference between the money received from NSFAS and the total amount paid to students to date, has been paid from CUT funds,” said De Jager.

According to him it is standard practice that NSFAS refunds CUT in respect of the difference paid from CUT funds and that this arrangement ensures that no student is denied access to the university for financial reasons.

De Jager indicated that management has on numerous occasions engaged with the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and that they are disappointed by the protests. “I have received reports of employees being harassed by students in their offices, lecture rooms and laboratories,” said De Jager.

“Although CUT Management embraces sound student activism, such activities must take place within our Code of Conduct and according to the university policy. Incidents where employees and students are victimised and property is damaged, will not be tolerated, and we will institute processes to deal with those incidents.”

“As we take our responsibility to safeguard the academic year, ensure the safety of students and employees, and protect CUT property, CUT has obtained a High Court Order on 18 February 2020, to interdict and restrain unlawful conduct of students, and, more specifically, to ensure that students do not intimidate and harass employees and fellow students, and deny them the right to proceed with academic activities,” he concluded.

More information about NSFAS can be obtained at https://www.cut.ac.za/nsfas.

Pierce van Heerden

pierce@mahareng.co.za