Rhodes University Vice Chancellor adds weight to ending UJ's Israel link

28 September 2010

Today, amidst growing international attention, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Rhodes University, Professor Saleem Badat, became signatory to the nationwide academic petition supported by more than 200 of South Africa’s most prominent academics, including Breyten Breytenbach, Antjie Krog and John Dugard (www.ujpetition.com).

Badat is the third Vice-Chancellor (highest non-ceremonial university position) who has signed the petition, joining the VC of UNISA, Professor Barney Pityana, and the former Vice Chancellor of Durban University Technology, Prof Dan Ncayiyana, in calling for the termination of an agreement between Ben-Gurion University and the University of Johannesburg (on the grounds of BGU’s direct and indirect support for the Israeli military and occupation).

In response to increasing pressure from the academic community and an open letter of support by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/article675369.ece/Israeli-ties--a-chance-to-do-the-right-thing), it was reported in the Israeli press that BGU’s leadership have come out as “deeply disturbed” by recent developments in Johannesburg. 

Tomorrow, 29 September 2010, UJ’s Senate will meet at its Soweto campus, where one of the most pressing issues to be decided will be whether to terminate its partnership agreement with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU).

The outcome of UJ Senate’s decision will be announced tomorrow afternoon and representatives can be contacted on the day to give interviews and comment on the decision.