The ongoing stand-off between a few university students and the rest of the university staff, students and Education Department has fixated focus on many dark corners of university life.
Example, as far as I know, most universities have departments dedicated to conflict resolution. Taxpayers pay millions to keep these professors and other academics in comfortable environments while they obfuscate and write lengthy dissertations on issues that regular people will never read.
Ironically, now, when we need them the most, few of these professors and stewards of conflict resolution are anywhere near the action. What is the point of writing on historical matters but when the genuine and current situation presents itself, you hide behind the cover of academia?
Why must Vice Chancellors who took an average of 30 years in academia to attain the position, be rattled by students that have been at university for one or two years.
While I fully agree that university fees are too costly, free education is not an option as “anything that belongs to everyone in truth belongs to no-one”. I have learnt this by monitoring the manner in which some communities treat the parks and public open spaces that ratepayers pay to upkeep.
Also let us not forget, how the university narrative started. No-one speaks of the issue of colonialism at universities anymore as that was merely the start of the current mess. What must be a concern, is what happens next? Will students who graduate and remain jobless refuse to move off campus?
Will graduates demand work from government like the situation started in Tunisia that gave rise to the Arab Spring and ended up with a military dictatorship in Egypt and a civil war in Syria. These conflicts in-turn inspired a mass migration to Europe that continues to give rise to neo-Nazi political activity and fascism establishing itself firmly in European politics.
We all know that we live in a global village and that a disease underway in Brazil (Zika virus) can be detected in Singapore as it is really only a matter of time.
What must be done is for universities to return to normalcy at all cost. If we must lock up a few students so be it. If a few dead-wood, archaic and irrelevant professors in the Arts and Humanities Faculties must be fired to reduce university costs and reduce fees, so be it. If an early democratic election must be called to remove an inept government, so be it.
What we cannot have, is a few people who hold the rest of society, ransom because of their naïve idealism. We need action not words to prevent any more vandalism and anarchy.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress