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Uproar over UCT concession to miss test for Rocking the Daisies

A UCT lecturer has come under fire for saying students could miss a class test scheduled for the same time as Rocking the Daisies music festival in Darling, if they could supply evidence of having booked for the festival well in advance.
A screenshot of a notification sent out by Dr Tom Angier of the philosophy department reads: “Owing to the unusual term structure this year, there is a clash between the second test on October 6 and Rocking the Daisies.
“If you can supply evidence of having booked the festival well in advance, you will be excused attendance at the test, and your other course work will count more towards your final result.
“You must bring such evidence to Philosophy reception and fill out the usual forms.”
Wendy Burgers, a UCT health sciences associate professor and member of the Staff for Social Justice in Education, said: “This seems like a highly questionable action. 
"Changing the duly performed requirements for some students in a course because it clashes with a rock festival they are attending?
“I would question whether the lecturer is consistent in his actions when other cultural events that cater to a different demographic of students clash with class tests.”
Student activist Simon Rakei said he was deeply saddened when he first saw the screenshot.
“The first thing I thought of were the many stories of black students who were refused exemptions from tests or assignments happening after they’d experienced a dire tragedy or been through a traumatic event.
“The cultural norms and traditions of the university are very much geared towards white sensibilities - in the sense that Rocking the Daisies, which is a historically exclusionary and white festival, is something that the university can make room in accommodating for,” Rakei said.
He said the institution would always privilege white sensitivities and feelings over the daily lived violence experienced by black people.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said all departments in the Faculty of Humanities granted extensions or concessions, for example, for not being able to attend classes, to students who supplied documentary evidence to the course convener.
“If students believe that this is not being applied equitably within a course, they may escalate this to the head of department and the faculty for review,” Moholola said.
The institution has also been slammed after a student took to social media saying that Muslim students at UCT struggled because exams were scheduled on Eid across faculties and the university often said that “we are a secular institution and do not structure exams around religious holidays”.
“Over and above this, students have other genuine problems which result in them having to miss exams for various reasons. 
"The university always makes this process extremely difficult. But many faculties have cancelled assignments, tutorials and assessments to accommodate Rocking the Daisies. 
"Thank you UCT, you continue to favour what white society and the upper class in your university regard as important,” read the post.
Approached for comment, Moholola said: “If the students needed concessions and had documentary evidence submitted to the course convener, this would have been considered and either accepted or not accepted. 
"If they feel their matter was not handled equitably, they can escalate it to the faculty for a review.”

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