UFH students demand that GBV policy be adopted

UFH students demand that GBV policy be adopted
UFH students demand that GBV policy be adopted
Image: Sino Majangaza

With two days to go before a vital senate meeting about gender-based violence (GBV), Fort Hare students have stepped up their demands for a GBV policy to be adopted.

There has been a five-day boycott at the university’s East London campus to demand a GBV policy. Students have been marching and holding meetings and night vigils to agitate for the implementation of the policy. They say the lack of such a policy indicates the university does not take internal action against sexual harassment and assault.

In March, university vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu told the Dispatch that the process of adopting a sexual harassment policy was in its “final stages”.

Students have now vowed not to return to class until this policy is adopted. SRC premier Mihla Hanise said the class boycott was triggered by the national call to act against GBV.

“We then remembered that, in fact the university does not have a policy to deal with gender-based violence. A memorandum was then drafted and students said they would not go back to classes until the policy was passed,” he said.

UFH’s director of Institutional Advancement Tandi Mapukata said a special senate meeting was scheduled for Wednesday “to formally adopt the policy and recommend it to the UFH administrator (Professor Loyiso Nongxa) for final approval”.

“We therefore anticipate the UFH sexual harassment policy will be in place by Friday 13 September 2019,” she said.

Mapukata said the university regretted the delay.

“This has been a rather difficult year for the university considering all the changes we’ve had to undergo following the minister’s decision to dissolve council,” she said.

Mapukata said the SRC was part of the consultation process.