A final-year Bachelor of Commerce student was this week excluded for 10 years from Rhodes University after being found guilty of rape by the university.
The three-member disciplinary board for sexual offences which heard the case has also directed the student not to enter the university campus for the duration of his exclusion, the university confirmed yesterday.
“His academic record will also be endorsed as unsatisfactory,” said the university in a statement.
“Any credits that he may obtain from any other university during his 10 years of exclusion will not be recognised by Rhodes University.”
The rape verdict was a finding of the university, and the student has not been convicted by a court of law.
In its verdict, the board ruled that rape filled society with a sense of revulsion and undermined women’s equality and freedom.
“It follows that at a university it undermines a woman’s ability to pursue her studies and obtain a qualification, affecting her future socio-economic circumstances,” the board stated.
Commenting on the outcome of the case, Rhodes vice-chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said the university had zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence.
He revealed that the university prosecution team had motivated for a permanent exclusion of the accused.
“In its wisdom, the board handed down a 10-year exclusion sanction. We welcome it.
“We hope such a sentence will serve as a deterrent to any would-be offender.”
He said he also hoped it would encourage all those who had experienced sexual or gender-based violence to report it so that action could be taken against perpetrators.
“Reporting such offences is important in that it protects other members of our community who could have fallen prey to the offender,” said Mabizela.
The prosecution team was led by Rhodes director of special projects Sue Smailes.
Mabizela said the university’s education, sensitisation and awareness-raising initiatives were aimed at ensuring that those willing to modify their behaviour and attitude towards sexual/gender-based violence were assisted to do so. He sent out a stern warning to those who chose not to modify their behaviour.
“We will apprehend them, prosecute them to the full extent of our policies and remove them from our community.”