Our institution has identified improvement in communication, internally and externally, as one of its priorities. Work to develop a comprehensive institutional communication strategy and supportive policy environment is underway. We will implement an intensely collaborative institutional approach in this regard and create meaningful opportunities for stakeholders to contribute.
While work proceeds to address our medium to long term communication objectives, we have to be alert to the immediate risk which we face in our current operating space and to act accordingly to mitigate such risk and unintended and often damaging consequences of our communication action.
In this regard, we have noted with great concern several posts which were issued about an “attempted rape” on campus yesterday. These incorrect posts were subsequently corrected by the unauthorised authors online. We commend the sense of responsibility displayed by the authors in owning up and in correcting the mistake.
An official statement on the matter was also issued by the Division for Communication and Advancement (DCA).
Rape is a serious issue. In my communique last week, I highlighted this fact and committed the institution to dealing, in a systematic and sustained manner, with this pernicious societal problem.
The publication of unverified information is a serious matter which could easily go viral and cause serious damage to the institution. We would like to caution against any such practices which could bring the institution into disrepute, are detrimental to employee engagement and only serve to cause unnecessary mass hysteria through the spreading rumour.
It is especially serious to publish such information ostensibly in our official capacities. We need to be constantly aware of the weight that our institutional titles carry and how this affects perceptions about our actions.
The Division for Communication and Advancement is the only authorised institutional agency to communicate on behalf of the university.
We appeal for everyone’s cooperation in this regard.
Dr Sizwe Mabizela