Wits names harassment director

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Copy of IOL si wits (36343420) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Wits University expects the number of first-year applications to reach 50 000 by the end of this month and can only accept 5 500. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannesburg - The University of the Witwatersrand on Thursday announced the appointment of academic Jackie Dugard as the new director of the university's Sexual Harassment Office.

“We are confident that professor Dugard brings with her the necessary skills, experience and leadership qualities required to develop the requisite structures needed for the university to deal with any form of sexual harassment,” rector Adam Habib said.

Dugard would assess the current structure to deal with sexual harassment on the different campuses.

She would also work with various relevant university departments to ensure Wits had a sufficient, trustworthy system in place to ensure a safe environment on campuses, said Habib.

Dugard obtained her BA, BA Honours and LLB qualifications from Wits.

She also holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex, and an MPhil and PhD in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

In November, a fourth lecturer accused of sexual harassment at the university resigned.

The resignation brought an end to the harassment cases that were under investigation.

The university dismissed three of the accused with immediate effect after their respective disciplinary hearings, Habib said at the time.

Wits investigated four academics accused of sexual harassment last year.

Two of the academics were fired in July and the third in September.

In April, the university appointed a law firm to probe sexual harassment claims following an article in a newspaper which claimed that a lecturer in the university's drama department had harassed a number of his students.

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