Max Price.  Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
Max Price. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN

TENSE University of Cape Town academics criticised their management as the campus remained on lockdown on Wednesday.

Some accused vice-chancellor Max Price of being too soft on protesters‚ while others said there hadn’t been enough transparency.

UCT’s executive council made the "difficult decision" on Sunday to suspend classes‚ lectures and examinations‚ and so far they have not resumed.

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Jenni Case‚ a professor of academic development in the engineering department‚ said her institution was shut for three weeks last year. "Some of what we lost then will never be regained."

Case had been "temporarily persuaded" that South Africa’s social challenges were extreme enough to warrant something "fully disruptive" to raise awareness‚ but had now "seen the danger in that argument".

"If we strike at the core of the university’s work‚ we inflict a body blow to the university’s contribution to addressing those exact challenges‚" she said.

Another academic‚ speaking anonymously‚ said some staff were "angry" on being told to go to work on Monday despite classes being cancelled‚ and then being forced out by students and workers.

"This has been nine months in the making but it has been business as usual with no transparent discussion."

While UCT academics have been vociferous on Facebook‚ many are reluctant to speak to the media.

"The problem is that the spineless UCT management refuses to protect its students and staff by using the police to maintain public order‚" one wrote.

UCT spokesman Pat Lucas said they had in the past been criticised for bringing in security personnel‚ and had taken a "firm line" with protesters who broke the law.

Price said the campus was shut due to "heightened tensions‚ the assessment of our ability to contain disruptions‚ and the value of a day to develop a plan of action".

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