Rhodes University condemns rape and sexual violence and seeks to provide a consistent, caring, and timely response when sexual assaults occur within the University community. We acknowledge that we are a microcosm of society in which sexual violence and rape are pervasive. Rhodes University does not tolerate this culture and strives to be at the forefront of change in ridding our institution and our society of this scourge.
The current protests on campus may trigger rape survivors, and the Counselling Centre is available for students who may need support. Students and staff are encouraged to go to the Counselling Centre in the Steve Biko Building.
Yesterday evening, 17 April 2016, a list of names of current and past students was released on RU Queer Confessions, Questions and Crushes with the hashtag #RUReferenceList. This post was shared to the Rhodes University SRC Facebook Page. Following this, a call was made to students to meet at the Steve Biko Building.
The group of protesters gathered at the SRC Offices. They proceeded from there to various residences and entered Jan Smuts, Calata, Cullen Bowles, Goldfields, and Graham House in an attempt to find the students whose names appeared on the list. A few students were held by the group. The Vice-Chancellor and Director of Student Affairs tried to engage with the protesters at Cullen Bowles, Graham House and again at the Drama Department, however these attempts failed.
The Vice-Chancellor engaged with students last night and during the early hours of this morning instructing the protesting group to release the remaining student who was being held against the student’s will, and indicated to the students that they were breaking the law. At 08:00 am this morning a student was still being held against their will and the SAPS assisted in resolving this situation.
We acknowledge the need to provide stronger mechanisms to support rape survivors. A Task Team, consisting of staff and students and chaired by Prof Catriona Macleod, will be constituted to look broadly into issues of sexual violence on campus and how we may strengthen our systems and procedures.
The University affirms the need for more effective education about sexual violence including rape. We operate in a constitutional state and we need to observe the rights of all.
Source: Communications and Marketing
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