Rhodes denies hostility to JewsDate Released: Mon, 20 January 2014 12:30 +0200
RHODES University vice-chancellor Dr Saleem Badat has "rejected with contempt" a Johannesburg-based SA Jewish Report newspaper article claiming the university was hostile to Jews.
So confident is Badat that the allegations are baseless, he will ask the university's senate and council to invite the SA Human Rights Commission to investigate.
"Any Jewish students or staff who believe that their human rights have been violated at Rhodes will be invited to place their allegations before the Human Rights Commission."
The SA Jewish Report earlier this month published a story headlined "Rhodes pays dearly for its anti-Zionist stand" in which it alleged that Larissa Klazinga - a former long-term staffer in the dean of students office - had been viciously targeted by the institution because she was Jewish.
Late last year Klazinga left Rhodes after reaching a confidential settlement with the university management.
Before that she was served with a charge sheet containing more than 15 disciplinary allegations.
Klazinga - an outspoken Zionist - describes herself in the SA Jewish Report as a "hearing-impaired Jewish lesbian vegetarian with a bi-racial Xhosa fiancé".
And while Badat is adamant the university is not hostile to Jews and never targeted Klazinga because she is Jewish, he admits to being left redfaced by the charge sheet Klazinga was served.
But the two charges that he is mortified by had little to do with Klazinga being Jewish or her Zionist stance.
The one charge accuses her of behaving in a "sexually provocative manner in public" with her partner while the second charges her with failing to ensure she was politically neutral.
Badat said the leadership of the university was deeply anguished by these two charges, which he said were gratuitous and antithetical to the kind of culture the university sought to create.
As a result, the charges were withdrawn in their totality and an investigation is underway into how they were ever permitted to be tabled.
By Adrienne Carlisle
Article Source: DAILY DISPATCH (Final Edition)