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LET'S LIBERATE THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN

RICHARD WILKINSON

17 APRIL 2024

The University of Cape Town is holding online elections for its highest governance body, known as Council. Council consists of 30 members and four of these individuals are elected by what is known as “Convocation”, which effectively means the entire community of alumni i.e. anyone who holds a diploma or credit-bearing certificate from the university. The four successful candidates will serve on Council for a term of four years, from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2028. A total of twenty individuals have been nominated.

I have known two of the nominees, David Ansara and Mark Oppenheimer for many years through the South African Institute of Race Relations. David is the CEO of the Free Market Foundation, a classical liberal think tank, and is a prolific author on the policies needed to generate economic growth and job opportunities in South Africa. Mark is one of South Africa’s most prominent advocates and has done outstanding work in the field of human rights, particularly on the topic of freedom of speech.

I do not personally know Professor Brian Kantor or Kelly Phelps, but I understand that they are strongly committed to ensuring that the University of Cape Town is restored to being a place of genuine intellectual freedom and high academic standards. In any event, both are highly distinguished individuals who have long standing connections to the University of Cape Town. Professor Kantor is a former Dean of the Faculty of Commerce who has also held prominent positions in the private sector. Ms Phelps is an independent criminal justice consultant who spent 18 years lecturing on the University of Cape Town’s LLB and LLM programmes.

 

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Readers of my essays will be aware that I am fed up with the Woke activism that has corrupted and immiserated virtually all of South Africa’s universities as well as countless schools across the country. I refer to this phenomenon as “School Capture” but it could well be described in any terms that reflect the key features of Marxist agitation: the pseudoscience, the personal bullying and – certainly at the University of Cape Town – the appalling violence, harassment and intimidation that has marked the past ten years.

The first step to countering these illiberal tendencies is to write and speak about them – unreservedly and uncompromisingly – so that the abuse, the dishonesty and the vandalism that has occurred in our institutions are broadcast to as wide an audience as possible. I have tried to do this on my website (www.school-capture.com) where I have published nine essays to date and where I intend to publish many more in due course. 

However, if we are to turn the tide and achieve tangible change, we need to do far more than write strongly worded articles on the Internet. We need to start gaining control of our institutions. That means having people who are unequivocally opposed to Marxism and its hideous modern iterations (Critical Race Theory, Wokeness, Fallism, Gender Ideology etc) being nominated to serve on governing bodies. Put simply, we need to start winning elections and achieving majorities so that people who value freedom of speech and academic excellence can be appointed to key positions and illiberal policies (of which there are many at the University of Cape Town) can be decisively reformed.

 

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The University of Cape Town is very much the original site of School Capture and I can’t think of a better place to start the resistance. And so I am delighted to see that there is a group of principled, high quality people which is making a stand. Last week I emailed the university to request a ballot so that I could vote. I received a response the next morning and, earlier today, I cast my vote in favour of David, Mark, Professor Kantor and Ms Phelps. The process took only a minute and so, if you are a former student of the University of Cape Town, I strongly urge you to do the same.

Email convocationelection@uct.ac.za and copy in the following text:

 

“Dear UCT

 

I am a former student of UCT with the following details:

 

Student number / ID number:

Degree:

Year of graduation:

 

Please may I request a ballot for the Council election?


Thank you”

 

You should receive a response providing you with details on how to vote online. Please note that the deadline to register to vote is 4pm this coming Monday 22 April 2024, with the deadline to cast your ballot being 4pm on Tuesday 23 April 2024, so please act immediately.

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