Statement by the University of Pretoria on racism

“The University is dedicated towards the development of an inclusive, enabling and value-driven organisational culture. One of the hallmarks of this culture, in fact, one of the ways in which we can measure our progress and success in this regard, is the degree to which everyone feels truly welcome on our campus; welcome in the academic sense, in a physical sense, in a cultural sense, in a religious sense and also in a social sense,” said the University’s vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Calie Pistorius.

In his welcoming address for new first year students and their parents earlier in the year, he said: “The University abhors racism and sexual harassment and will actively seek to eradicate it. We also have to realise that the University is not an island. If racism, sexual harassment and crime are present in the broader society and in the city around us, it would be unrealistic not to expect that they will somehow spill onto the campus. However, the University’s position on these issues is clear – these social evils cannot be tolerated on this campus.”

The University of Pretoria has embarked upon a path of transformation, and is committed to the promotion of equity, access, equal opportunities, redress, transformation and diversity, as well as its active and constructive involvement in community development and service. In support of its transformation imperatives, the University enthusiastically promotes the values of diversity, respect for person, privacy and property, human dignity, tolerance and non-alienation. Its campuses are characterized by South Africans from a wide spectrum of racial, cultural, language and religious backgrounds. During the last couple of years, the University’s residences have also embraced the notion of a value-framework, and as a consequence have worked hard to ensure that the traditions in the residences are supported by their value-frameworks.

“I need to state clearly that initiation, and any other degrading practice of first year students, including students that live in the residences, is prohibited at this university,” Prof Pistorius told parents and students.

The University of Pretoria appeals to all parties concerned to report such incidents, should they occur, immediately to the University’s management so that it could rectify the situation.
The University of Pretoria associates itself completely with statements released by Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and the Minister of Education regarding the fight against racism, ethnicity and intolerance in tertiary institutions. We will actively support proposed steps contained in their statements.

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