JOHANNESBURG, May 18 – Rhodes University has “excluded” a final year Bachelor of Commerce student for 10 years because he has been convicted of rape.
“A three member disciplinary board for sexual offences which heard the case further directed the student not to enter the University campus for the duration of his sentence,” the university’s spokesperson, Veliswa Mhlope, said in a statement on Thursday.
The university did not name the convicted student.
“His academic record will also be endorsed as unsatisfactory. Any credits that he may obtain from any other University during his 10 years of exclusion will not be recognised by Rhodes University,” said Mhlope.
The board said it agreed with the prosecution that rape filled society with a sense of revulsion and undermined women’s equality and freedom.
“It follows that at a university it undermines a woman’s ability to pursue her studies and obtain a qualification, affecting her future socio-economic circumstances,” the Board stated.
Commenting on the outcome of the case, Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said the university had a zero-tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence.
“Our prosecution team had motivated for a permanent exclusion of the accused. In its wisdom, the board handed down a 10-year exclusion sanction. We welcome it. We hope such a sentence will serve as a deterrent to any would-be offender,” said Dr Mabizela.
“We also hope that it will encourage all those who have experienced sexual or gender-based violence to report so that action can be taken against perpetrators.
“Reporting such offences is important in that it protects other members of our community who could have fallen prey to the offender.
“We are grateful to our prosecution team, led by Ms Sue Smailes, for the meticulous manner in which they investigated and presented this matter and for the support and encouragement they provided the complainant.”
Earlier this week, Dr Mabizela briefed the Institutional Planning Committee on the progress in the implementation of the 93 recommendations of the Sexual Violence Task Team. H said several recommendations are already under implementation.
The committee has prioritised and categorised all recommendations into three interventions, which included education and enculturation, review and realignment of policy and regulations and a comprehensive approach to justice regarding gender-based violence.
“There may be those who, despite all our efforts to persuade them to modify their behaviour or attitude do not change. For them, our message is simple: we will apprehend them, prosecute them to the full extent of our policies and remove them from our community,” the university said.
– African News Agency (ANA)