'I was ashamed as a white man' - Stellenbosch University Chancellor Edwin Cameron on urination incident

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Stellenbosch University Chancellor and former Constitutional Court justice Edwin Cameron said he was ashamed when the university made headlines this week after a student urinated on the personal belongings of a fellow student. 

"I was grief-stricken, ashamed as a man, and as a white man that things like that can still happen, but it also spurred me to a new resolution that we can do better," he said.

Cameron was speaking to News24 shortly before his official installation as chancellor on Wednesday evening.

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The university elected Cameron as its 15th chancellor in 2019.

Profesor Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the university, also condemned the incident on Wednesday, calling it "shocking and appalling".

"This type of behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated. I am truly sorry about the pain that was caused by this incident."

Besides the police's investigation of a criminal case, the university's Equality Unit was also probing the matter.

"Permanent expulsion and/or criminal charges are possible outcomes based on the investigation's findings," said De Villiers.

He said the final outcome should pave the way "to avoid any repeat of similar breaches of the right to personal human dignity on our campuses".

Cameron said the commitment to do better was crucial, and that this incident should serve as a learning curve.

"It’s important that we learn from this moment of grief and that we don’t wallow in it," he said.

Cameron said he was honoured to be elected as the chancellor of the university.

"This is also a time of sobriety for Stellenbosch given what’s been happening on campus, a time of worry, but also a time of opportunity that we can do better; that we can create a campus in which knowledge production, knowledge acquisition, learning and teaching and researching takes place in conditions of safety and inclusivity and affirmation of diversity."



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