UJ SRC supports academics and VCs to end Israel academic agreement

Issued by SRC President of UJ
29 September 2010

This afternoon, after a week of national and international media attention, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will take a decision regarding its partnership agreement with the Israeli institution, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). As the Student Representative Council acting on behalf of the student community of UJ, we publicly announce our support for the principled position of over 250 South African academics who have made a statement in favour of terminating the agreement.

With the significant addition of the Vice-Chancellor of NMMU, Professor Derrick Swartz, as signatory this morning, the petition now has the backing of four Vice-Chancellors (three current and one former), including Rhodes University’s Professor Saleem Badat; UNISA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Pityana and Durban University of Technology’s, Professor Dan Ncayiyana.

As a younger generation, inspired by voices such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Barney Pityana and Alan Boesak, we recognise our interconnectedness with student communities across the world. We thus support the call for UJ to end its links to an institution that directly and indirectly supports the Israeli military and occupation which, amongst many other dehumanising effects, deprives Palestinians access to education.
In line with UJ’s commitment to being a socially engaged institution, which seeks to cultivate a culture of transformation, we can only agree with Desmond Tutu’s plea that UJ has the chance to “do the right thing,” this time.

As this is an important issue, the SRC has ensured that two of its members will attend the Senate meeting taking place at UJ’s Soweto campus this afternoon, both will be available for comment thereafter.

Issued by Deputy President Bongani Koahela and Deputy Chairperson Minhaj Jeenah on behalf of the Student Representative Council of the University of Johannesburg