Senate supports SU management’s language leadership

In a member’s motion accepted during a meeting on Friday, 21 August, the Senate of Stellenbosch University (SU) expressed its full confidence in the Rector’s management team, and specifically in Prof Russel Botman as Rector and Vice-Chancellor, and Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector (Teaching), for the manner in which leadership is provided on language issues at the University.

In the same motion Senate also expressed its dissatisfaction with individuals, including members of the University Council, and bodies that publicly question the bona fides of the Rector’s management team in relation to language issues.

Prof Hoffman, who proposed the motion, reminded the Senate on Friday that the member’s motion had its origins in the previous Senate meeting. “Through this motion we want to let the voice of Senate state clearly that external (outside of the internal academic community) casting of suspicion on our leadership does not help the handling of language at our University. In fact, we are working hard together (particularly also in Senate) to manage this very complex issue in an academically accountable manner at our institution. To cast suspicion on our leadership precisely at this stage of the process, after so many hours of hard work, endless patience shown during the long and difficult negotiations and many reconciliatory gestures, is simply unacceptable. As Senate we would like to work on this great challenge alongside our leadership with mutual trust and without external suspicion being cast,” he said.

The motion was accepted unanimously by Senate.

The member’s motion links to a letter to the same effect by Dr Ludolph Botha, Senior Director: Academic Support, and Prof Louw Hoffman of the Faculty of Agrisciences that was published on the letters’ page of Die Burger on 19 June. In that letter, Dr Botha and Prof Hoffman expressed their dismay about the efforts by various people and bodies to cast suspicion on SU leaders in the media and to cast doubt on their leadership ability in relation to the handling of language matters.

The Senate comprises of more than 282 of the most senior members of the University’s academic community.