Cape Town – Two student activists have been expelled from Rhodes University for life for their "conduct beyond lawful boundaries" while protesting against rape culture, sparking an outcry on social media.
According to an SABC News radio report, two female students have been banned for life and may never be able to complete their studies after they participated in anti-rape protests at the Grahamstown campus in April 2016.
The protests escalated when a group of female students allegedly took matters into their own hands and dragged four students suspected of sexual assault out of their dorm rooms.
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The expulsion decision was handed down on November 17 to two of the student activists, after they were found guilty of kidnapping, assault, defamation and insubordination, the SABC reported.
In response to the SABC, the university said the "sanction had nothing to do with the students’ right to protest, but that their conduct went far beyond lawful boundaries and amounted to common law offences".
According to the radio report, the students intend challenging the guilty verdict and the sanction in court.
Attempts by News24 to get comment from Rhodes University were unsuccessful on Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, a massive outcry has been sparked on social media under the #RhodesWar hashtag.
Let’s be clear - they were expelled for leading a vigilante mob into buildings, rounding up men identified on the circulated list, assaulting them and holding them hostage. They were not expelled for mere protests. https://t.co/MKsObwZKJU— Barry Bateman (@barrybateman) December 12, 2017
OMG????Guys we need help. We need legal help. Political help. Rhodes must be taken to court. Can't post what is happening in detail because Black Womxn are being held at ransom. We need help. Please. 0766475312 please RT. Rhodes University is doing the most. We need help??????— Babes Womzabalazo (@NalediChirwa) December 11, 2017
With Rhodes University choosing to expel those womxn for protesting against rape culture,after 16 days of activism is not a surprise. Society is no longer feeling obliged to pretend that they care about womxn and their rights. #RhodesWar— MaZikode (@AneleZMaphumulo) December 12, 2017
We at Thuto Lwethu are deeply troubled with how the Rhodes University has handled #RhodesWar. Particularly how they chose to side against those with whom rape & sexual assault is meted out on - not only have they placated these activists but they are now denying them an education— Thuto Lwethu (@ThutoLwethu) December 12, 2017
As a black woman studying at Rhodes I realized in order to be "safe" and not victimized I needed to stay silent,and realized that matters of injustice towards black bodies and females don't matter. Rhodes is a reflection of SA injustice in any case #RhodesWar— Phumza Luthango (@PLuthango) December 12, 2017