A senior executive team would initiate a plan of action driven from the vice-chancellor’s office with the assistance of an advisory group, the university said yesterday.
The newly-formed group would comprise members of management, staff, gender specialists and students. This follows the university commissioning an independent inquiry into the nature, scale and extent of sexual harassment on its campuses.
Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib welcomed the report, and apologised to those who had fallen victim to harassment at the institution. He vowed to ensure that the university become a safe place for all. “We must learn from this traumatic experience.”
The director of the university’s Centre of Applied Legal Studies, Professor Bonita Meyersfeld, identified the scale of the problem, and said the students’ trust had been difficult to earn; however, they did come forward with accounts of harassment.
Of the four cases that were probed, the university fired two staff members for sexual harassment after disciplinary hearings in July. A third case is being investigated, while a fourth is yet to begin, according to Habib. The university’s Student Representative Council (SRC) welcomed the report’s findings.
SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said the council would encourage students to speak out on sexual harassment.