Vice-Chancellors at all 26 universities have called for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the scourge of gender-based violence.
Their request follows the recent murders of two first-year university students in Cape Town.
UCT film and media studies student Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, was killed at a post office on the day she went missing - August 24. UWC theology student Jesse Hess, 19, was killed along with her grandfather at their Parow home on Friday.
"All 26 Vice-Chancellors will engage the Presidency by Friday the 13th of September, with the view of registering our anger and developing a plan of action for addressing the scourge at the universities," Universities South Africa spokesperson Mateboho Green explained.
She said universities had agency and much to contribute to transforming the culture that produced this form of "cowardly violence".
"Our people are angry - angry about the violent abuse of women that happens daily, angry about not being heard, angry about the irrational violence that robs people of their lives, angry about the lawlessness in our country, angry about the wanton destruction of infrastructure and angry about the empty promises and lack of political leadership on these matters," said Green.
"We have every right to be angry. At the same time, we cannot allow our anger to spill over in a way which reduces us to lawlessness or advances further harm."
Green believed there were political forces at play who were keen to manipulate the national tragedy for their own agendas "both within and beyond the academic sector, regardless of the rules of universities or the law of the land".
"Universities South Africa and its members have a zero tolerance approach to gender based harm and progressive policies are in place to ensure that perpetrators are dealt with decisively.
"All complaints of gender-based harm should be referred to the respective Gender Equity Offices at the universities who have committed to investigating all complaints expeditiously."