Reitz hostel decision on June 6

2008-05-21 20:35

Bloemfontein - A decision on the future of the Reitz men's residence at the University of the Free State (UFS) would be taken at a council meeting on June 6, said acting rector Professor Teuns Verschoor on Wednesday.

"The outcome will take into account the submissions received from persons on whom this decision will have a direct impact as well as the submissions from other stakeholders," he said.

"This includes students in Reitz, their parents and the present staff of Reitz."

Reitz was at the centre of a storm earlier this year when a racist video made by former students at the hostel sparked a national outcry.

The video featured black university employees on their knees eating food which apparently had been urinated on by a white student.

It also referred negatively to the university's integration policy for campus residences announced last year.

'Should become a beacon'

At an earlier council meeting a resolution was accepted that the UFS management could investigate closing Reitz and its conversion into either a new residence or accommodation facility, or a different type of facility for use by the university.

A UFS spokesperson said at the time: "The guideline by council was that it should become a beacon of transformation, hope and liberation."

Verschoor said that, in the meantime, the UFS had begun to co-operate with "knowledgeable external consultants" to provide it with additional capacity.

"The consultants will help the UFS in identifying the stumbling blocks in the implementation of the residence integration policy and suggest ways to overcome them," he said in a statement.

They also would make recommendations on how to accelerate the university's transformation and integration processes.

The consultants also would be responsible for the management of the "perception/reputation of the university" in the wake of the damage done to its public image by the video.