Wits mum over senior lecturer sexual harassment claims

2017-01-26 11:02

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Johannesburg - The University of the Witwatersrand has declined to comment on reports that one of its senior professors is being investigated for allegedly sexually harassing three of his colleagues.

University spokesperson Shirona Patel said on Thursday that it was a confidential process.

"The university will not comment on a process involving a staff member until the process is concluded," Patel told News24. 

Patel said the university will have a better "understanding" of the complaints and will be able to comment by Friday. 

According to Eyewitness News, three women claimed that the professor offered to help them further their studies, get a promotion and help them at work in exchange for participating in sexual activities with him and one other person.

They alleged that his conduct was inappropriate and he made comments with sexual undertones. 

3 dismissed in 2013

The women also claimed that the professor would call meetings at restaurants on Friday evenings.

One of the complainants claimed the professor pushed her against a wall and forcibly kissed her, even though she indicated that she was happily married, and was not interested in him, EWN reported. 

Patel said a complaint was laid at the institution's gender equity office and an independent person would investigate the matter. 

In 2013 a senior drama lecturer, Tsepo wa Mamatu, political studies professor Rupert Taylor, and former media studies senior lecturer Last Moyo were all fired for sexual harassment. 

Mamatu and Moyo were dismissed after they were found guilty of sexual harassment in July 2013. Taylor stepped down after sexual harassment allegations against him surfaced.

In April 2013 Taylor was placed on special leave and campus security officials escorted him off campus after he made sexual advances to students via SMS and social networking sites. 

Read more on:    wits  |  johanneburg  |  sexual harassment
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