Stellenbosch University suspends ‘racist’ urinator – criminal charges could follow
The university says a detailed investigation will determine the final outcomes.
A general view of Stellenbosch University on 12 June 2020 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Picture: Gallo Images/Ashley Vlotman
Stellenbosch University has suspended the student who urinated on the belongings of another student in an alleged racism incident.
The incident saw a white student urinating on a black student’s books and laptop after breaking into his room at Huis Marais residence in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The South African Students Congress (Sasco) described the incident as racist, after the white student allegedly claimed that his actions “is what they do to black boys”.
While this sparked some protests on campus, the university’s spokesperson Martin Viljoen confirmed to The Citizen on Monday that the perpetrator has been suspended.
Viljoen said the university “strongly condemns the destructive, hurtful and racist incident” and has launched a probe into the matter.
“The alleged perpetrator was suspended from the university today. A further swift, but detailed investigation will determine the final outcomes.
“Expulsion or criminal charges are not excluded from the possible available options, based on the investigation’s findings,” he said in a statement.
“Such destructive behaviour is totally unacceptable and undermines what SU stands for as well as the many continuous focused efforts made towards building inclusive student communities at Stellenbosch University,” the statement further reads.
Stellenbosch University vice-chancellor professor Wim de Villiers said the university is “appalled by this type of behaviour”.
“Such conduct will not be tolerated at the university. We acted swiftly and decisively to uphold our commitment to a culture of inclusivity.
“What happened at Huis Marais is not acceptable. No student has the right to diminish another student’s human dignity or rights in this way.”Professor Wim de Villiers
The white student has also since been removed from the Huis Marais residence, while the victim has been offered counselling.
“The student affected is clearly still in shock after his very upsetting and painful ordeal. He is still trying to process what happened and was offered counselling.
“He will be supported as and when required to ensure his academic progress is not affected by the incident,” senior director of Student Affairs, Dr Choice Makhetha said.
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) also reacted to the incident.
“We have confirmation that the case has been handed over to a caseworker at the Equality Unit and investigator at Student Discipline, and we will be engaging as much as we can to ensure that the outcomes thereof match the gravity of this situation.
“What occurred in Huis Marais was an example of the harm that follows marginalised communities, and in this case – Black students,” SRC Chairperson Viwe Kobokana said.
Students gathered at the university’s campus, in a peaceful demonstration, demanding that the perpetrator be expelled.