How many can you recognise?
Wallace & Gromit
By popular demand, more of the friends and colleagues you know and love.
How many can you recognise?
Is your favourite colleague here?
Wallace & Gromit
And now for something completely different!
A bit of "who's who in the zoo", for those who reckon that Campus resembles a snake pit.
What were they thinking? Surely transplant surgeons - if only to keep their jobs - want to encourage the public to donate organs? Or at least, those they no longer require, of their own or their next of kin, in the event of death.
The recent publicity attendant on Dr Garlic's liver transplant seems to have achieved the exact opposite effect. The stark reality has dawned that, once you donate the organs, you have no control over whom is chosen as the recipient. Dr Garlic today, Dr Death tomorrow, perhaps even Barend Strydom next.
It seems mean to deny the potential of a better life - or perhaps just a longer one - to someone who could benefit from donated organs. But if that person goes on to kill others - directly, as in the case of Strydom, or through dubious policies, as in the Dr Garlic case, would more deaths have been prevented by withholding the organs?
It raises difficult ethical questions, but I'm hanging onto my organs now, just in case.
In a gallant effort to encourage our students to be more self-sufficient, SuperCare decided today to provide only a very limited amount of toilet paper in the ablution facilities. Predictably, this sufficed only for a very limited time - until shortly before lunch. At which stage, students and staff were thrown back on their wits, with varying degrees of success.
Most staff discovered that correspondence from Bremner did have a use, after all, though how the Maintenance staff tasked with unblocking the drains now clogged with manilla envelopes will feel about that remains to be seen.
Students were less lucky. Once the enterprising few had raided all the paper serviettes from Java and the paper hand towels from the disabled toilet in Arts, their options were rather more limited. Being Tuesday, the Monday Paper had yet to arrive, and using their class notes seemed like a waste of having fought for that last standing spot on the Jammie Shuttle to get to Campus.
So, perhaps predictably, as bladders got fuller, classes got emptier, and shuttles got fuller.
Coffee queues shortened.
SuperCare staff, tired of being shouted at, went into hiding.
It was like the Rapture, only... the Rupture?
Today is International Women's Day, and reports still indicate that women are paid less than men - both by their higher concentration in low status, low pay occupations, and comparatively, for "equal work".
How does UCT compare? Without current data in front of me, hard to say authoritatively, but the last figures I saw still showed the upper echelons to be dominated by men, while the lowest in-sourced workers tend to be a mix of DAs (traditionally more manual, and more male) and bottom-end clerical (traditionally more female). Outsource workers - the real bottom end wage-wise - are female-dominated across cleaning and catering, and male-dominated across security and grounds. But if one generalises, it's still pretty accurate to say top earners are disproportionately male, bottom earners disproportionately female.
And on the "equal pay for equal work" question? Well, with RFJ for staff on academic conditions, those disparities have largely become issues of rank / promotion, but staff on other conditions have the differential of "performance-based" positioning within a payclass. Data from a few years back showed males typically earning more than females - across job title, payclass, or area. Males in similar positions more likely to be on a higher payclass than females. The kind of trends one finds everywhere, in other words.
How much of that has been addressed in the interim, with the factoring of "performance" into the equation? Hard to know, without access to the data. And, of course, if one factors in other dimensions like race, how much more interesting a picture would it paint?
... that UCT staff are reluctant to leave their offices. It takes a motivational email from the VC to get large-scale attendance at a strike meeting. But, it seems, even an email from the VC is insufficient to get staff to stroll up the stairs to go for HIV testing.
Which is a pity, really. You couldn't ask for more convenient, even if they came to your office. Plus they're giving out these funky bracelets (see below) - choose colours to match your eyes or your mood.
It's confidential - the counsellors are not from UCT, they're trained and professional and interesting to chat to, and the exit is discreetly out of the line of sight of anyone waiting in case you don't want to rush up to your buddies with a big smile to announce your status.
And it's really quick. About 30 minutes all told, and 20 minutes of that is waiting for the test to do what it needs to do so you can get your result.
Oh, and it's not at all painful - you don't even feel the new devices and it stops bleeding the second the drop has been squeezed out of your finger. So nothing to fear on that score.
Go along - testing all this week, until midday Friday, in Jammie Hall.
It's better to know.
... what are tests?
Convenient, confidential, and free - all of next week!
Yes, its VCT time again. Which, for those who don't speak Acronym fluently, is Voluntary Counselling and Testing. And for those who live in a cave, that's testing for HIV.
Maybe because the first two letters are VC, the VC has sent out a letter (see below) encouraging everyone to make use of the opportunity. And with Registration a distant memory in everyone's minds, the prospect of standing in a queue shouldn't be too scary. Hey, we do it several times a day for coffee, and we don't even gt counselling for that!
The last email that the VC sent out mobilised the masses - as the very successful turnout at the recent strike attested - so let's hope that this one will do the same!
Who knows, it might even mobilise some members of the Senior Leadership Group to show some leadership on HIV/AIDS by testing openly too?
HAICU's website can be found here.
Letter from the VC:
Due to the enthusiastic response to the voluntary HIV counselling and testing drive of 2006, another will be organised by Student Wellness Service for 5 days next week in Jameson Hall on UCT's Upper Campus, as follows:
Monday 5 March, 11h00 to 16h00
Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 March, 09h00 to 16h00
Friday 9 March, 09h00 to 12h00
While going for an HIV test is a decision only individuals can make for themselves, it is critical that everyone in the UCT community take personal responsibility for knowing their status. HIV can be both prevented and treated. If your status is positive, UCT has the support structures to enable you, as a student, to complete your studies and go on to make a difference in your chosen profession. Parallel support structures are available for members of staff to manage the HI-Virus. So I would encourage all of you to utilize this opportunity to learn of your status.
The extension of the testing drive to one whole week will give greater opportunity to be tested between lectures and other obligations. The walk-in facility will allow you to be counselled, tested and to receive your results in roughly 40 minutes. Complete confidentiality of results is assured.
If you are unable to get tested during the up-and-coming VCT drive, and you are a student, contact Student Wellness Service on 021 650 3000 for a test at your convenience. The address is 28 Rhodes Avenue, Mowbray, just below University House Res. If you are a member of staff, contact HR organisational health for a test on 021 650 3028 (Margie Tainton), 021 650 2154 (Ashley Taylor) or 021 650 4001 (Gina Fraser). Alternatively, you may choose to be tested elsewhere in Cape Town or when you are home for the holidays.
I call on you to make a considered decision to be responsible and to know your status.
Professor Njabulo S. Ndebele
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
"The personal is political."