Sunday, May 18, 2008

Farewell to Edwin Cameron

After years of dedicated service to the University of the Witwatersrand, Edwin Cameron retired from the chairmanship of the University Council.

While the laudatio speeches were certainly right in pointing out the stature of the man, I found the snide remarks about students and their representatives un-becoming.

Certainly we can be distressed about the often poor leadership qualities and the lack of insightfullness on behalf of the very same student leadership, but these will only improve if they are treated by the university management and staff as thinking human beings that play their part in the university governance.

Instead, they are constantly belittled and manipulated by the university powers that be. Thankfully, there are the exceptions but the general tone is rather discouraging.

If the university is to be more efficient and excellent, all stakholders have to be taken seriously. A more democratic, just and striving institutions needs to do away with paternalism and top-down governance.

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