AfriForum Youth this week denounced the newly proposed residence placement policy at a meeting of the University of Stellenbosch’s Student Parliament, contending that the policy should not be dominated by race limitations but rather should be adapted to serve as guideline only for diversity. In addition, AfriForum Youth proposed merit as the criterion for admission to residences, thereby allowing a natural process to maintain diversity rather than stringent race quotas.
The newly proposed residence placement policy at the US proposes, among other things, that 60% of placements would be based on academic achievement, while selection of the remaining 40% would be according to a diversity profile. The policy contains the following proposals, among others:
- That half of the students in residences would be students whose parents did not study at the US. By implication, only 50% of those students whose parents studied at the US would be admitted.
- That not more than 45% Afrikaans students would be admitted per residence, and that not more than 40% white students would be allowed in residences offering accommodation for male and female students.
- That white students, residing in Stellenbosch may only live in residences for two years, while this criterion will not be applicable to students from other race groups who would be allowed to stay on in residences for longer.
“Dividing students into categories, sows discord among students and is a serious infringement on their human dignity,” Conrad Basson, AfriForum Youth’s US chairman, said.
“The US cannot claim that it is a non-racial institution when 40% of its residence policy reflects a stringent focus on race and language. Diversity is not promoted by categorising people according to race and language, but rather by giving everyone an equal opportunity to apply for admission to a residence and in terms of which opportunity students are selected on merit, irrespective of whom their parents are and where they live,” Basson says.
Basson moreover says that if merit does not apply without exception it would have a negative impact on the academic climate at the US. “AfriForum Youth strongly condemns the policy and regards it as discriminating in nature because certain criteria, such as that those students whose primary residential address is in Stellenbosch may only reside in residence for two years, only apply to white students.”
The reason the US Task Team gives for the amendment in policy is that diversity has to be promoted in order to demonstrate to government that the US is transforming itself.
AfriForum Youth will in future be part of the consultation processes for the proposed placement policy at residences, and will meet with the various House Committees to discuss the issue during the coming week.