The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
September 27, 2016
On Tuesday September 27th, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University reported that it will remain closed until further notice as the university continues discussions with various stakeholders. Students have been advised to continue to check their emails for updates from individual professors. The University of Cape Town continues to remain closed through Sunday, October 2nd. Classes continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff have reported that the atmosphere on our host university campuses remains peaceful. No decisions have been made yet by the University of Cape Town or Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 26, 2016
On Sunday, September 25th, the University of Cape Town formally announced that classes would remain cancelled and the libraries closed until Monday, October 3rd in order to continue peaceful discourse between university administration and the students behind the the "Fees Must Fall" movement. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remained closed on Monday, and is expected to reopen on Tuesday September 27th. Classes have continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff have reported that the atmosphere on our host university campuses remains peaceful. No decisions have been made yet by the University of Cape Town or Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 23, 2016
Due to ongoing "Fees Must Fall" protests at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the university administration cancelled classes and campus activities again on Friday, September 23rd. ISA students were notified of the cancellations and advised on areas to avoid. The University of Cape Town continues to remain closed through Sunday, September 25th. Classes continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff reported that protests on our host university campuses have remained peaceful throughout the week. No decisions have been made yet regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 21, 2016
On Wednesday evening, University of Cape Town administration announced that all university activities will remain suspended through Sunday, September 25th in anticipation of further protests. This includes closing the campus library and suspending shuttle services. The ISA resident staff has reported that "Fees Must Fall" protests have remained peaceful over the last day. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remains closed through Thursday September 22nd. The University of the Western Cape has remained unaffected. ISA resident staff is continuing to update students regarding the closures as well as any new information regarding protest activity and areas to avoid.
September 20, 2016
Due to ongoing "Fees Must Fall" protest action, classes and campus activities have been suspended at the University of Cape Town for Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20th -21st. Protests also took place at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, resulting in classes being suspended through Thursday, September 22nd. Protests have remained non-violent, although there have been reports of minor vandalism. ISA students at both universities have been advised by ISA resident staff to avoid campus and protest activity. Classes at the University of the Western Cape have continued as normal. ISA is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to advise students appropriately.
September 19, 2016
University of Cape Town cancelled classes and closed student facilities again on Monday, September 19th, in anticipation of continued protests due to the scheduled announcement by the South Africa Minister of Education on tuition fee increases for 2017. "Fees Must Fall" protesters organized demonstrations in major roadways on and around campus and held demonstrations within lecture halls on campus. Protest activities have remained non-violent. ISA students have been notified of the cancellations and will continue to be updated by ISA resident staff with any new developments.
September 16, 2016
On Friday, September 16th, due to ongoing student protests on campus, UCT suspended classes and campus activities. The protests have remained calm and non-violent, and there remains an increase in security presence on campus as the university takes steps to ensure the well-being of the campus community. UCT administration advised that classes and university activities are scheduled to resume on Monday morning. The ISA resident staff met with our students to discuss the protests and review safety protocols. There have been no reports of protests at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), ISA's other host university in Cape Town, and students attending UWC have been unaffected. ISA staff will continue to update students and university partners on any new information regarding the protests and any future campus closures.
September 15, 2016
On Thursday, September 15th, a group of approximately 200 student protestors gathered at the University of Cape Town's (UCT) lower campus and moved off campus to protest a student disciplinary tribunal against students accused of vandalism and other acts during previous demonstrations. Protesters returned to campus in the afternoon, disrupting normal activity at the library and computer labs on campus. Classes were not officially cancelled, however, the library and computer labs were closed and ISA resident staff received notification of the cancellation of an evening exam. The ISA resident staff was in communication with our students attending UCT to make them aware of these events and areas to avoid, and to remind them of safety protocols. UCT's Campus Protection Services is closely monitoring the situation. Classes and campus activities are expected to resume as usual on Friday, September 16th, and ISA resident staff will continue to provide the most up to date information to students and advise them accordingly.
September 9, 2016
On the morning of Friday, September 9th, 2016, a small group of "Fees Must Fall" student protesters blocked the main entrance to the University of Cape Town's upper campus, preventing the student shuttle and transport services from dropping students off and causing substantial traffic disruptions. At approximately 9:00 a.m. local time, the university administration announced that the protesters were dispersed and traffic cleared. Lectures and regular campus activity quickly resumed as normal. ISA resident staff was in communication with students to make them aware of the protests and that no penalties will be assessed against any students who may have missed classes as a result of the protests.
Last year, the Fees Must Fall Movement, which at its core rejects increases in tuition, led protests at universities across South Africa and resulted in campus closures. The South Africa government and university officials are taking measures to try to prevent similar disruptions from occurring this year. ISA resident staff remain in close communication with university administration and will continue to monitor the situation on campus and update students accordingly.
Cartago, Heredia, and San Jose
Monday, September 19, 2016
As of September 17th, the Turrialba Volcano has experienced increased activity after a period of relative rest. The latest two eruptions, taking place at 3:00am and 11:30am on the morning of September 19th, sent a considerable amount of ash into the air causing a yellow advisory alert to be issued for the surrounding areas. The volcano is located in the city of Cartago, which is about 40 miles northeast of the capital city, San José. The eruptions have caused ash to fall in San Jose, Heredia and Alajuela, where the Juan Santamaría International Airport is located. Due to the high levels of ash, the airport suspended operations at 1:15pm local time and it remains unclear when the airport will resume its regular operations. Students currently abroad in San Jose and Heredia have been provided safety recommendations and have been advised not to travel to Cartago while the volcanic activity persists. There are currently no ISA students living or studying in Cartago. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to students as needed.
August 31, 2016
On Wednesday, the Brazil Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, effectively removing her from office for the rest of her term. She had been under investigation for corruption since May 2016 and impeached under those charges. Vice President, Michel Temer, has been sworn in as Brazil's interim president and will serve the remainder of Rousseff's term through 2018.
While demonstrations and strikes by Rousseff supporters are possible across the country in the coming days, the ISA Florianópolis staff has advised students about this potential and reminded them of relevant safety precautions, including avoiding any public gatherings they encounter at this time. The ISA Florianópolis program is not otherwise expected to be impacted by today's ruling and continues to run as normal. The ISA staff will closely monitor this political situation in the coming days and further update students as necessary.
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