Kidnap sparks university changes

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IOL ct stellenbosch girl 4.09

Cape Town - The kidnapping of a student after hours has prompted Stellenbosch University to consider scrapping evening tests and exams, it said on Thursday.

The university's academic planning committee made this proposition to the Senate on Wednesday, following the kidnapping on Monday and other recent crimes.

“Such a decision will have far-reaching consequences for the academic functioning of the university and it is a pity that crime should have such an impact, but we no longer have a choice,” said Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, vice-rector of learning and teaching.

According to the university 21-year-old Ilze-Dene Oberholzer was walking to the campus to write an exam when she was attacked in a municipal parking area adjacent to Eikestad Mall around 7pm.

Western Cape police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said that as she fell and got up, two men forced her into their car and drove off with her in the back seat.

“While driving she threw her car keys out of the window and the men stopped the car at another vehicle and got out,” he said.

Oberholzer broke free and ran away without being harmed. No arrests had been made and the investigation continued.

The university was greatly concerned by the attack and had offered counselling to Oberholzer.

Schoonwinkel said a distinction should be made between attacks that happened to students who had acted responsibly, such as Oberholzer, and those where students put themselves at risk.

He said many students incorrectly believed they were safe from the crime that happened throughout the country.

“It is a reality that the Stellenbosch campus is an open campus that is not isolated from the rest of the town or the country.”

The university and the campus security service were doing their best with safety patrols, access control, contracted security services, after-hours student transport, alarm monitoring and response, emergency reaction, and closed-circuit television monitoring.

Schoonwinkel said while universities could implement measures such as stopping evening tests, it could not prevent students from moving around campus and town freely at night.

He appealed to students and staff to not walk alone in the evening, or early morning hours, to not abuse alcohol, and to use the pedestrian escort service on campus.

Sapa



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