Wits condemns, removes offensive campus graffiti

2016-02-08 16:56
(Supplied to News24)

(Supplied to News24)

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Johannesburg - The University of Witwatersrand has removed the words "Fuck White People", written at the entrance of the Oliver Schreiner School of Law building on its main campus, it said on Monday.

In a statement released on the Wits website on Monday afternoon, the university's senior executive said a small group of students were deliberately spraying offensive graffiti on the walls of the Wits campuses and on T-shirts.

"The offensive graffiti has been removed from our campus walls," it added.

According to Wits, the group had mobilised on behalf of an individual who was due to appear before the SA Human Rights Commission this week for wearing a T-shirt with the words "Fuck White People" printed on the back.

Wits said it was not sure who had laid the complaint with the SAHRC, but said the individual had also been linked to a number of illegal activities on its campuses in recent weeks.

Although it condemned the offensive messages, according to the law, the statement did not necessarily incite any harm, Wits said.

"We have been advised that legally, the statements may not be a violation of our country's Constitution, which provides for freedom of expression, unless it constitutes incitement to cause harm.

"In this instance, while the messages are certainly hurtful, we have been advised that they may not directly incite harm."

Wits urged the group carrying out these actions to "desist from this offensive and hurtful behaviour", as it was contrary to the institution's values of tolerance and respect.

Action would be taken against any individual caught defacing property or spraying graffiti on walls not designated for the purpose, it said.

Read more on:    wits university  |  johannesburg  |  education  |  university protests  |  racism

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