Maties students suspended from residence for wearing 'blackface'

Cape Town - Two female students who allegedly wore blackface to a housewarming party at the Heemstede Dameskoshuis at Stellenbosch University (SU) have been suspended from the residence pending the outcome of an investigation.

- Read more: Stellenbosch ‘blackface’ incident was actually purple-face

In an announcement on the Maties website, the university also confirmed one of the students had been relieved from her duties as student mentor.

"Students voiced their anger, discontent and hurt about the incident at a meeting held in Heemstede on Friday evening,"
the statement reads.

"It was attended by a large group of students, the Students' Representative Council [SRC], the residence house committee, Heemstede residents and university staff members."

Professor Nico Koopman, the acting vice rector for social impact, transformation and personnel as well as Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel, the vice rector for learning and teaching attended. 

"Discussions continued well into the night. The house committees of all university residences have been requested to hold open and frank discussions and to explain the impact of such incidents [on] their residents by Sunday evening."

In an apology posted on Facebook, one of the students said they took full responsibility for the incident at the "stellar space party". She said they painted their bodies dark purple and covered themselves in glitter.

SU spokesperson Martin Viljoen on Friday said the university's equality unit was investigating the incident. It was established recently to deal with cases of unfair discrimination and sexual harassment.

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