Dr Max Price, Vice Chancellor of UCT, in a letter said the shortage of black academics at the university could be ascribed to a shortage of candidates.
“Few in that small pool choose academic careers over offers from the new government, civil service and corporates, all desperate to recruit highly skilled black professionals,” Price wrote.
It was not unanimously well received.
On Tuesday, a group comprising of 19 black academics employed by the university published a response decrying the attitude from which Price’s comments come and the lack of evidence to support some of his claims.
“It is suggested that such people have the potential to become scholars of “quality” but choose to work in the corporate and public sectors instead. This sentiment is stated with authority but is unsupported.” the statement reads.
The statement also blasted Price’s comparison of UCT with other universities that hire a larger number of black academics.
“The article suggests that “quality” is compromised at other universities that have more black professors because at UCT “we are not lowering the standard for appointment or promotion as professor for people of colour“.”
UCT spokesman Patricia Lucas told journalists that the institution encouraged debate on the subject of transformation.