No place for human rights violations at SU

“Any behaviour that violates  the dignity and human dignity of fellow students will be handled with the strongest possible sanction. Violence and planned humiliation contradict all the values that Stellenbosch University stands for. It has no place at an institution where everyone’s human rights are valued.”

This was the response of Prof Julian Smith, Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel, after an incident between students of two men’s residences, Wilgenhof and Eendrag, on Valentine’s Day was reported to Management late last week. From statements by the two residences, it appears that residents of Wilgenhof lashed out at the students of Eendrag who passed their residence shouting the “offending” Bekfluitjie – referring to an earlier era in the history of the Wilgenhof building when it resembled a bekfluitjie or harmonica. In the ensuing skirmish, Wilgenhoffers took a house committee member of Eendrag to the courtyard where a suspicious mixture was poured over him. It is thought that this was a concoction of sour milk, even though allegations have been made that it contained human excretions.

“If the preliminary investigation supports this information, this kind of behaviour and these actions are in direct conflict with the University’s values. In the context of the University’s Student Disciplinary Code the strongest possible steps will be taken against the culprits,” said Prof Smith, who is also responsible for student discipline.

He has held discussions with the residence heads and head students of the two residences and has received statements from them regarding the incident. The University’s investigating officer is currently wrapping-up the preliminary investigation.

Prof Smith said he is expecting a report with recommendations within the next few days and has already made the necessary arrangements for any expeditious hearings before the Central Disciplinary Committee.

In accordance with the University’s aim to promote value-driven behaviour, actions have been initiated to restore relations between the two residences.