/ 31 July 2013

Wits dismisses two staff members for sexual harassment

Wits Dismisses Two Staff Members For Sexual Harassment
University of the Witwatersrand

“The staff members have been found guilty of sexual harassment and misconduct, and one of them has also been found guilty of sexual/indecent assault,” vice-chancellor Adam Habib said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The university publicly apologises to the students who were harassed in any way. It further reaffirms that it will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment on its campuses,” he said.

The university is also investigating two other cases of employees alleged sexual harassment of students and “will announce the outcomes of these two cases in the next few weeks as the outcomes become available”.

In April, the university put all four employees, including a drama lecturer and a politics lecturer, on leave following allegations made in a Sunday Times report.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the university would not be disclosing the employees' names "because they still have the opportunity to appeal the decision, so a legal process is still underway".

University registrar Kirti Menon declined to comment further.

The university also instituted a campus-wide inquiry into sexual harassment led by head of the Centre of Applied Legal Studies, Bonita Meyersfeld, and Joe Mothibi from Norton Rose Fulbright. It was expected to be completed in the next two weeks.

"The objective of this second inquiry is to conduct an assessment of the existing policies and procedures of the university, for the purpose of preventing instances of sexual harassment," Habib said.