UCT apologises for professor's 'disrespectful' Ramadaan comments

Chris_the_Brit

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#1
UCT has conceded comments made by a lecturer, in response to a Muslim student’s question about examination protocols during Ramadaan, were “inappropriate and disrespectful”.
Nuhaa Soeker e-mailed Professor John Higgins, of the university’s English literature department, asking if students would be allowed to break their fast just before 6pm during a 5-7pm exam.

In response, Higgins said: “By breaking the fast do you mean a five-course meal with dessert, or a small snack whose eating would disturb no one around you? The exam office, which runs the exams (not me!) makes no mention of this, and you would have to approach them for clarification. But please tell me what you see as fast-breaking (sic).”

Soeker posted Higgins’s response on social media, eliciting widespread outrage.

Higgins later expressed his “unreserved apology for the offence” caused by the e-mail.

“The student was concerned about breaking fast during the 5pm-7pm university examination, and I replied with entirely unacceptable levity.

“I see now that my response was appallingly ill-considered and hurtful, and has caused offence to the student in question, as well as to the broader UCT community and beyond.

“I am deeply ashamed at the lapse in judgement present in my communication, and the hurt it has caused, and hope that my sincere apology can be accepted,” he said.

UCT stated: “We believe that the response was, on the face of it, inappropriate and disrespectful. Its content may no doubt have caused hurt and offence.”

UCT said it had measures in place to ensure that students were able to observe Eid while exams were ongoing, and these were communicated to deans and heads of departments a week ago.

Students sitting for exams are allowed to sit quietly at their desks and break their fast, as has been the case in the past, the university said.

They are also allowed to take a short break should they wish to leave an exam session, during which they would be escorted by an invigilator.

...

The MSA has been in contact with the exams office, UCT’s registrar as well as the SRC since January regarding exams during the fast. A response from black scholars in the English department - Associate Professor Barbara Boswell, Associate Professor Nadia Davids, Dr Chris Ouma, Dr Khwezi Mkhize and Dr Polo Moji and Associate Professor Harry Garuba - on social media has come out in strong condemnation of Higgins’s e-mail.

“Statements issued by senior faculty are understandably read by our own students and by communities within and outside of UCT as reflective of the department’s position and culture. It is clear to us that the statement feeds into an reinforces an underexamined structure of racism, Islamophobia and blatant disrespect toward students that is prevalent in our institutions and in our society,” they said.
https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/new...sors-disrespectful-ramadaan-comments-15032157
 

saturnz

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#4
I don't think the professor did anything wrong

that student that reacted needs to take a deep long look at herself

and LOL and the professor's response - I get the feeling he didn't mean any of those words, and rightly so
 

Devviem

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#6
I pray to the God of the 13.5 Red and Blue Mountain Apostles. It is required that I shout out his name every 30 mins during any exams if I would like to pass.
If not my God will punish me and I will fail the exam.

I wonder if the UCT will accommodate me?
 

saturnz

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#7
I pray to the God of the 13.5 Red and Blue Mountain Apostles. It is required that I shout out his name every 30 mins during any exams if I would like to pass.
If not my God will punish me and I will fail the exam.

I wonder if the UCT will accommodate me?
you have to approach the exam office, not me
 

miz_pimp

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Oct 2, 2009
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#9
I really don't see why people are upset about the professor's response. I've read it a few times, and I understood it as him just asking a question, possibly out of curiosity.

These students of today want to make an issue out of everything! Just take a date with to break your fast, and perhaps a sandwich. It's really not that difficult. That's what we did when we wrote exams during the fast.
 

Devviem

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#10
I pray to the God of the 13.5 Red and Blue Mountain Apostles. It is required that I shout out his name every 30 mins during any exams if I would like to pass.
If not my God will punish me and I will fail the exam.

I wonder if the UCT will accommodate me?
My Great God will never ask me to fast! Praise be upon His Name!
 

3WA

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Sep 25, 2012
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#11
Sounds like a prof who's had a long day and got a bit irritated.
Eh.
Doesn't even sound irritated to me. If someone spoke to me like that I would just think they were injecting a bit of colour into an otherwise mind-numbingly dull bit of conversation.

This is why you should never have a frank and insightful discussion with anyone under 30.
 

Devviem

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#13
When you speak to him again, ask him why he sent a drought to the Western Cape.

Is it because of Zille or De Lille?
No, for weather related stuff I pray to the Great God of the Green Mountain, The Golden desert and the Mighty Winds.

I will ask him your question during my next exam at UCT.
 

Suspect99

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Aug 22, 2012
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#16
meh. We used to take a date and a glass of water in and just eat when the time came. It was never an issue. It's been happening for years. No extra time awarded or anything. And we never asked.

If the professor has been there for years and doesn't know this then hes a bit absentminded
 
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#20
If he really was offended and not just an attention whore, he would not have posted it on social media. The court of public appeal is not where you take your grievances if you are serious about the issues.

What kind of fecking university allows eating during the exam? Next they gonna give pedicures.
Should be OK if he sweeps and cleans the floor when he is done.
 
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