Dear colleagues and students,
I have been conscious of the need to keep the University of Cape Town community updated on matters relating to the recent protest action and our progress in relation to broader transformation issues. It is my plan to do so in the next few days.
I wish, however, to update you urgently on the recent suspension of a UCT student. This has now attracted media attention. I write to give you the facts.
Based on an allegation of harassment and intimidation of a female staff member that occurred on the public holiday, 1 May 2015, in the Mathematics Building on Upper Campus, a student was suspended last Thursday, 7 May 2015, and is facing a disciplinary hearing relating to that incident.
We regard disciplinary cases as confidential and would not ordinarily comment or reveal any details to anyone. The confidentiality aims to protect all parties involved in the process and to ensure fairness.
The student who has been charged chose to reveal his identity and charge sheet to the media and has in the process revealed the identity of the complainant, which the Cape Times decided to publish yesterday. This is most regrettable, since the complainant's version of events is not in the public domain, nor should it be; nor are the statements by the various witnesses. This will inevitably lead people to a biased view of the incident. It is not in the interests of the student, the complainant or the institution for UCT to argue these points in the public arena. The student's statement is, of course, also under consideration by the legal office. We await the hearing where all these matters will be presented and tested on their merits.
The student also makes multiple claims and accusations in his statement to the media, which are not about the alleged facts of the case or the behaviour of the complainant, but impute unfair treatment or discriminatory practices to UCT. Some of these need to be answered now. I wish to make the following points clear:
I trust that the above information provides some balance and clarification.
Dr Max Price
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