Tuks holds talks with sexist poster boys

2017-05-26 17:55
Students have gathered at University of Pretoria  (File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Students have gathered at University of Pretoria (File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria - The University of Pretoria (UP) has identified and held talks with the students who displayed posters with sexist slogans during a residence competition, a spokesperson said on Friday.

The findings and next steps would be discussed during a meeting of the executive management committee on Tuesday, UP spokesperson Candice Jooste said.

"Appropriate steps will be taken against those found guilty. We look forward to working with students to create greater awareness around the different forms of abuse."

The posters were displayed during a Serrie residence competition on Tuesday evening. Female students had to dance in front of a crowd and be judged by a panel. The posters were meant to distract the dancers.

The slogans included offensive and sexist remarks like: "There’s better uses for that mouth".

Jooste said the university welcomed the decision by the TuksRes Sub-Council to withdraw residences from the final of the Serrie competition and to condemn the students' behaviour.

"This will send a clear message that derogatory and offensive behaviour against women will not be tolerated as it does not form part of the university's values."

No breach of Sexual Offences Act

Attorney Tracy Lomax said a case could be made that the makers of the posters breached the Sexual Offences Act.

"It is arguable that certain of the posters could be viewed in this way, but unless and until a particular act of incitement is tied to a particular act, in respect of a particular victim, I think it's too remote to be seen as a breach of the act."

However, the students’ behaviour was unacceptable and the university should discipline them just like it punished those who interrupted lectures during protests. In both cases, there was trauma to other students.

"It may also be time, in light of this incident and the spiralling rape statistics, and the very real fear which most women live with, daily, for the law to be developed to outlaw statements which are intended to, or have the effect of, inducing in women fear, humiliation, or degradation.

"The posters used were no less objectionable than racial slurs are, and the men who participated in this mass assault on women's safety should be condemned, as well as educated. Their actions evidence a remarkably poor EQ," Lomax said.

There was mixed reaction on social media.

Facebook user Elsje Nothnagel said: "Let's see, a 20-year-old something guy made a tongue-in-the-cheek joke at a cultural event as has been the tradition for many years. I think his future will be just fine."

Karishma Ramdev, referring to one of the poster students, said: "Maybe he must be evicted from res and banned from res activity."

Jooste said the university was unaware of this practice having taken place before.

Read more on:    university of pretoria  |  sexism

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