The recent events surrounding pre-Spring Day parties and Spring Day have caused students to question the future of student life in residences. Throughout the year Perdeby has covered stories about the tension between res student culture and UP management. This has raised questions such as: will there be pre-Spring parties and a Spring Day bash next year? What other aspects of student life are under threat? House committee chairpersons from various residences said that they don’t see a bright future for residence student life. Henk Otto, Boekenhout’s chairperson for 2010, predicts that residences in their current form will only last for the next four years. According to Katlego Malatji, Secretary General of the SRC, the SRC will not always be there to protect student traditions so students need to stand up for it themselves.
According to Prof. Roelf Visser, Director of TuksRes, there won’t be pre-Spring parties at residences next year unless they “can finalize a sustainable project plan to meet general policy guidelines.” This is the same reason why pre-Spring was cancelled this year. According to Charl Oberholzer, SRC chairperson, the SRC did provide an amiable solution this year for the issues surrounding pre-Spring.
Rag is also allegedly under threat. According to Nicolize Mulder, UP Media Liaison Officer, the university is currently reviewing Rag. Oberholzer stated in an affidavit that, according to UP management, Rag “does not serve its purpose anymore.” Rag will, however, continue next year.
Regarding traditions like Ienk Melodienk and Serenade, Visser says that these events will not be revisited and that they “will always form part of the student life activities.” TuksRes is currently considering disallowing points earned during Ienk Melodienk to count towards residence of the year awards.
First year traditions are seemingly on the chopping block. The first year exoneration date popularly known as ontheffing has been reduced over the years. Back in 2005 exoneration was in September, in 2008 it was moved to July and this year it was in May.
Visser asks whether there should even be an exoneration date after orientation week? According to Nick Grové, Registrar of UP, the university wants to move away from the traditional orientation process to something that will empower first years to adapt to their new living and academic environment.
A list of student activities and traditions that have been reduced or removed over the past few years, compiled with the help of the residences, include: minor traditions likes stealing jottirs, Kollege Rag carts, clubhouse open hours which have been shortened and water guns used in Serrie prelims, as well as traditions like compulsory first year participation in activities such as Rag, which is no longer mandatory, first year residents being allowed in the Square and Ienk Melodienk practice times, which have been reduced from 21 to 13 hours.
Visser adds that, “No student activities and traditions supporting our value driven culture were removed or limited.” Visser also reminds students that UP and TuksRes are held responsible for what happens on university grounds.
Oberholzer warns that the university should start considering the harm it will cause their name if they start removing these traditions.