Jansen moots new Reitz hostel

2013-05-06 00:00

THE Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State, Professor Jonathan Jansen, wants to reopen infamous Reitz hostel on the campus.

He made the announcement last Wednesday at a meeting of Accelerate Cape Town, a think-tank of business people.

Old Reitz men see the announcement as a peace gesture. But not everyone is happy with the idea that the Reitz name should be used again.

Reitz was closed in 2008 after a contentious video in which students played an unsavoury prank on cleaning staff.

The so-called Reitz four, the students who made the video to show their views on integration, were suspended, but their suspension was lifted in 2009 by Jansen and the four had to apologise to the workers in public.

Robbie Dennis, chair of the Union of Old Reitz men, said the union had not yet discussed Jansen’s plan.

Dennis said Jansen mentioned the possibility of reopening the Reitz hostel to him last year at a meal with Heimat Mannerheim students and management.

Heimat was created to house former Reitz residents.

“The rector has not talked to us about that since then,” Dennis said.

He believes the name “Reitz hostel” should not be used if the building were reopened.

Lacea Loader, spokesperson for Jansen, confirmed in a statement that the rector wanted to reopen the Reitz hostel next year as part of a reconciliation process that he started in 2009.

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