Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Posted on May 18, 2017


Dear Students, Alumni and Parents

You will no doubt have seen the pictures on social media of offensive placards held up by certain students at a preliminary round of the Serrie competition earlier this week. We understand your reactions of sadness and disappointment, and reiterate that this behaviour is contrary to the Code of Conduct that all students sign at registration, and which everyone is expected to adhere to at all times. We also understand the disappointment of many students who have worked very hard over the past few months to prepare for the Serrie competition.

The TuksRes Sub-Council, the Temporary Student Committee and the Student Culture Committee (Stuku), who organise Serrie, have taken the decision to cancel the finals of the competition following this incident. In their statement, Stuku said:

'The decision was made in light of the offensive placards and conduct of student spectators during the Serrie Prelims on Monday 15 May and Tuesday 16 May. The decision is further informed by the context of the current national campaign against rape and violence against women and the demonstration hosted on the Hatfield Campus in this regard on Tuesday, 17 May 2017… We rely on the student body to ensure that future student culture events will not be marred by a repeat of any insensitive, disrespectful or offensive behaviour.'

This followed a decision by the TuksRes Sub-Council to withdraw residences from the final.

'As the leadership of the residence environment we would like to stand firm and reiterate the fact that we are against any and all forms of abuse against anyone, especially women. We are also against any form of discrimination, and will continue to strive towards creating an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all the students being accommodated in our residences,' the TuksRes Sub-Council said.

These decisions by student organisers and leaders send a clear message that derogatory and offensive behavior against women will not be tolerated as it does not form part of the University's values.

The University's disciplinary processes are currently underway.

The student leadership with the University will implement further interventions to create greater awareness around the different forms of abuse.'


Best regards,

Prof Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor and Principal



- Author Department of University Relations

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