By now you are well aware of the incident that was captured on a cell phone video in the Huis Marais residence in the early hours of Sunday morning. Understandably, the situation has gained significant media attention.
The shocking and appalling incident at Huis Marais is totally unacceptable by any standard and I condemn what happened in the strongest way. This type of behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated. I am truly sorry about the pain that was caused.
Stellenbosch University’s (SU) main priority is to provide an inclusive environment for all its students and staff and to maintain a safe community where social cohesion is promoted to provide quality tertiary education for all.
The University deeply values respect, compassion, equity, accountability and excellence in all its interactions and conduct. SU strongly condemns any destructive or discriminatory behaviour that infringes the rights of any student or member of the community of the University. Human dignity is non-negotiable and must be respected, upheld and restored when affected.
I would like to update you with where we stand in terms of this matter:
- The student captured on the video was suspended from the University on Monday. The student is also no longer residing in the residence.
- A further swift but detailed investigation is currently being managed by the Equality Unit and will determine the final outcome.
- Stellenbosch University is committed to support the victim of the incident with equipment, material and counselling to ensure his academic progress is not impacted by the incident.
While the investigation is receiving priority attention, it is critical that thorough governance and procedures are followed for a decisive outcome that will allow compliance with the University’s governance regulations. Permanent expulsion and/or criminal charges are possible outcomes based on the investigation’s findings.
Despite the University’s strongest condemnation of the incident, coupled with the significant and understandable public outcry, proper procedures must be followed to secure a solidly defensible outcome to the situation at hand, as is required by law. The final outcome must make it abundantly clear that any similar breaches of the right to personal human dignity on our campuses will not be tolerated.
Students and staff are encouraged to inform us of any incidences where their dignity and human rights are affected by reporting incidences to the Equality Unit so that we deal with it thoroughly.
The Huis Marais matter is a top priority for SU management. We value the well-being of all our students and staff. Further engagement will take place once a final outcome is reached.
Prof Wim de Villiers
Rector and Vice-Chancellor
*Please click here to view a video message by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor.