UCT #Fallists war: Dr Price vs Prof Crowe – ‘This is not a handbag fight’

Student protests which rocked South African university campuses looked ugly from the outside. The battle is ugly within the hallowed halls of learning too, it seems. Details of the tensions between students and academics who believe pacts must be made with #Fallists and those who believe the decolonisation of higher education is a nonsense have spilled out into the open. For Emeritus Professor Timothy Crowe and others, the University of Cape Town’s reputation must be vigorously protected. A motion of no confidence has been tabled. For others, academics like Crowe are yesterday’s people. Subjected to a barrage of abuse over his attempts to keep UCT on the straight and narrow, Crowe responds to his critics – and explains that he is pressing for UCT senior management to consult appropriately on important matters. For Crowe, current developments are too important for alumni to ignore. – Jackie Cameron

From Timothy Crowe

Emeritus Professor Tim Crowe highlights some of the ingredients required to ensure a world-class university

The “Uproar over no-confidence in [University of Cape Town vice chancellor] Price”

This article, published on 7 December 2016 by Lisa Issacs in the Cape Times, needs comment, clarification and, hopefully, rational debate.

First, I speak as an individual and not part of a cabal with an ideological and/or political agenda. I have perpetrated no vendettas against any other individual, only against their actions taken in their professional capacities.

Second, the article should have begun with “SOME students and lecturers have criticised the motion of no confidence …” Only two, student Simon Rakei (representing whom?) and academic Prof. Adam Haupt (speaking on behalf of UCT’s Black Academic Caucus) appear willing to make themselves known publicly. The way the article stands creates the impression that the response is an “uproar”, the ‘critics’ are numerous and that many of UCT’s students and academics actually support the ill-defined, lawbreaker-led, Fallist movements and the intimidation, violence and destruction that some of their ‘outsourced’ cadre have inflicted on UCT’s “silenced” majority.  This is despite the facts that all of the few suppressed/ignored petitions/referenda taken to date relating to what has become to be known as “decolonization” at UCT demonstrate clearly that the ‘critics’ are certainly in the minority and perhaps, like the law-breaking ‘protesters’ and the Fallist/UCT-Executive ‘negotiators’, are few and far-between.

Yet, the UCT Executive steadfastly pardons, negotiates with and capitulates to “representatives” of this “malevolent minority” and refuses to respond to repeated supplications to transparently, democratically, anonymously and ‘self-identifiedly’ consult with the UCT Community as a whole on matters that could lead to the destruction of Africa’s premier (by any mode of definition or ‘ranking’) centre of tertiary education and research.  What do the Fallists and their fellow UCT-Executive decolonists have to fear from such a democratic survey/referendum?  Why must the fear be born only by the intimidated and Executive-abandoned “silenced” majority?

Third, what evidence do Ms Isaacs, the Cape Times in general, and/or the ‘critics’ have that I and Gwen Ngwenya (whom I have only known and come into contact with during the last few days) are (or belong to) “conservative right wing elements”?  Do such ‘movements’ even exist?  If so, expose us and them. Both Ms Ngwenya and I are known well within the UCT Community and our personal and our personal and professional track records suggest that we are not ‘bad hombres’.  So, why the evidence-free defamation?

UCT Vice-Chancelor of the University of Cape Town Max Price. Photo: Michael Hammond
UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price. Photo: Michael Hammond

Fourth, given what’s reported broadly in the media and what the ‘critics’ must have observed and ‘experienced’ at UCT, what “progress has been made” that can be “scuppered”?  All that was ‘achieved’ by the Agreement was the possibility to avoid intimidation of the end-of-the-year examinations and the requisite mis-use of the principle of “restorative justice” to grant conditional amnesty to some of the alleged law-breakers.  [I also read that – with the UCT Executive’s support and without any public remorse? – the charges against three UCT students (Masixole Mlandu, Chumani Maxwele and Slovo Magida) for violating an interim interdict during campus unrest, signed an admission of guilt in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday – UCT statment at the end of the article]

In the meantime, one of paleo-undergrad Maxwele’s several alleged victims was charged (by Maxwele) for racist actions and adjudged by UCT.  This charge was acted on expeditiously by the UCT Executive.  She, of course, was found totally innocent.  Maxwele, on the other hand, has evaded repeated judicial enquiries (I heard eight in all) and has never been held to account. So much for justice. His victims still live in fear.

Fifth, my motion is simply a tactic to allow one segment of the UCT Community to be consulted on a range of many strategic actions/inactions taken by the VC and his team and supporting or rejecting their and the “critics’” assertions that they constitute due diligence, let alone “achievement”.

Sixth, I have never and still do not call for Max Price’s resignation/dismissal. I just want him to undertake the duties defined within his job description while staying within the bounds set by UCT’s fundamental principles of Academic Freedom and pursuit of truth as individual students and academics see it.

Read also: University culture alienates students, says UCT vice-chancellor Max Price

Seventh, Prof. Haupt asserts that I have “failed to engage” with ‘critics’ on these matters.  In fact, senior Cape Times employees and the editors and readers of publications such as UCT IN THE NEWS, the Sunday Independent, Politicsweb, BizNews and GroundUp can confirm my overwhelmingly annoyingly attempts to engage in debate. Indeed, I have written personally to Dr Price, Judith du Toit (Director of his Office), DVC Mall, Russell Ally (Alumnus Office Director) and key Fallist supporters and members of UCT’s Black Academic Caucus. [I have copies of the e-mails.]

Only one (a ‘high-profile’ professor), not some, of these individuals has replied other than offering polite platitudes.

The “one” went even further than the current ‘critics’.  He labelled me as a “bigoted”, “frothing-at-the-mouth”, “sick-minded”, “self-delusional”, “Donald-Trump-trooper”, “racist-emperor”, “eugenicist”, “carpetbagger”, “codger”.  He is right on one score: I am an old codger.

He did not stop there. He described my employment at UCT to be a consequence of no “academic competition from black people in this country – all your life” and as “legalized protection”, concluding that my “time is up – deal with it”.  He even accused me of considering him as a “slave”.  [Once again, I have the relevant e-mails.]

Read also: Top scientist asks black academics: What does ‘decolonised’ UCT look like?

One of the primary motivating factors that led me to produce my apparently quixotic screeds was his challenge to me to have the “ethical integrity to publish” my views so he could expose.  Well, I did and he hasn’t.

Just to demonstrate that this is not just a one-on-one ‘handbag fight’ between two arrogant egotists [I freely admit to that characterization] insulting/defaming one another, my attacker has also defamed: four eminent UCT professors, at least one other academic, the UCT Senate as a whole (describing them as “racist wolves”), Max Price, two DVCs and a UCT spokesperson.  I too have criticize a broad range of colleagues and others at UCT, but never using ad hominem arguments.

My key ‘critic’ has been (internally within UCT) held to account for only one of his actions. He was found to have defamed colleagues he accused of racism and instructed to issue a formal apology. He has defiantly refused to do so and subsequently defamed the adjudicator of the process, UCT as an institution and its spokesperson as an individual.


In the meantime, he was promoted ad hominem (evaluated according to a questionable process) to full-professor, having suggested that the process is racist by design and that successful candidates should be detectable “by smell” [his words, not mine].

This individual is the epitome of what vanguard decolonist scholars and eminent Profs Mahmood Manmdani and Achille Mbembe describe as a “public intellectual” professor who should replace the neo-colonist Eurocentrists within a disciplinarily seamless and competition/evaluation free “pluriversity”, regardless of their epistemic-peer-rated international standing academically and their track record as educators.

I will end here without discussing what decolonization as UCT really means. More on that later.

If you are a UCT alumnus, please join me at the Annual General Meeting of the UCT Convocation and the Alumni Association to be held on Thursday, 15 December 2016 – Time 17h00 for 17h30 – Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT and express your views on my motion of no-confidence in Dr Price or, for that matter, anything else.

Emeritus Prof. and [e]motional Tim Crowe

UCT satisfied with prosecutor’s diversion in interdict violation case

UCT media release

The University of Cape Town has been advised that three students appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 06 December 2016, on charges of violating the interim interdict that the university sought after unlawful actions on campus on Tuesday, 16 February.

These charges were laid by UCT after the three students entered Bremner Building on 25 May 2016 without the Vice-Chancellor’s permission, as the interim interdict required.

The students signed an admission of guilt, committed not to repeat the offence, and received a sanction of community service.

UCT is satisfied with the prosecutor’s diversion in this case as it includes an admission of guilt, recognition that a wrong was committed, and a sanction of community service.

Catch up on this issue here:

Right of reply: UCT slams ‘ignorant, derogatory rhetoric’ about Dr Max Price

Dr Max Price must go: Here’s his University of Cape Town ‘report card

Burning questions over UCT clemency deal with #FeesMustFall students: Tim Crowe

What makes a world-class university? Money is not enough: Tim Crowe

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