Rhodes criticises 'misrepresentation of facts' around student expulsions

2017-12-13 21:30
Rhodes University. (Supplied)

Rhodes University. (Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town – Rhodes University insists the two students who were expelled for life from the university were penalised for "committing criminal acts" during a protest against gender discrimination and sexual violence in 2016 and not for their participation in the protest.

In a comprehensive statement released on Tuesday, the university said there had been a "gross misrepresentation of facts and attempts at manipulating public opinion" surrounding the events on the Grahamstown campus which took place under the #RUReferenceList banner. 

The university said a High Court ruling found that the "illegal actions" during the protests "made serious inroads into the rights and liberties of others". 

'Kidnapped, humiliated and tormented'

Additionally, none of those kidnapped by the accused at the time were found guilty of "any form of sexual misconduct or rape" by the university and the National Prosecuting Authority. 

"Students were kidnapped, humiliated and tormented on the strength of an equivocal list published on social media by anonymous author(s) in which no allegation of rape against them had been made," the statement reads. 

The university said it distinguished between "the necessary vigorous pursuit of a common objective to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence on the one hand, and abusing such a noble cause as a cover to commit acts of criminality, which serve to undermine the noble struggle".

University 'grossly unfair'

The university's statement followed days of debate on social media during which sections of the online community described the institution as patriarchal and biased for expelling students for protesting gender issues. 

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, one of the expelled students said the disciplinary action was "grossly unfair" and biased against her.

"They (Rhodes University) are proving our point. They are proving our point for the very reason that we took to the streets on that night," Yolanda Dyantyi, 20, said. 

Dyantyi plans to appeal her disciplinary outcome in the Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown. 

"You know, Rhodes just doesn't care about women. It doesn't care about black women. It stands against rape culture and wanting to combat [rape culture]."

The university's decision also drew criticism from the student wing of the EFF and the DA's former youth leader Mbali Ntuli. 

Obligation to 'maintain safe environment'

In the statement, Rhodes University said the chairperson of the disciplinary committee found "the university is under an obligation to create and maintain a safe environment for all its students".  

"Protest action is a constitutionally entrenched right, which is respected and indeed supported by the university, so long as it is exercised lawfully. Rhodes will protect these rights for everyone," the institution said. 

"What the university cannot protect and what the law does not protect, however, is unlawful conduct and the undermining of the rights and liberties of others.

Read more on:    rhodes university  |  sexual abuse  |  university protests  |  education

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.