Cape Town - UCT student residence Roscommon House has ejected 11 alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse and harassment.
On Wednesday morning, the Student Representative Council (SRC) was called to attend a gender-based violence protest at the mixed residence, located in Claremont.
The SRC said 11 students were identified and asked to be removed from the residence.
Students protested on Wednesday morning, and a house meeting held in the evening led to another protest. The students were removed early on Wednesday morning by the SRC.
SRC Secretary-General Katleho Cathy Mthenjane said the 11 alleged perpetrators were classified as either rapists, sexual harassers, or homophobes, and were all UCT students.
“The university organised transport and accommodation for the alleged perpetrators upon the students’ demand to remove them from residence space to preserve the safety of students,” Mthenjane said.
UCT DA Student Organisation (Daso) interim chairperson Rayahna Isaacs said what was distressing was that some of the alleged perpetrators were in leadership positions.
This comes as another alleged sexual assault was brought to light through a series of anonymous tweets by an account user [email protected]
The UCT student alleges that students had been raped by a UCT professor on UCT premises.
“I reported this to UCT and for months they failed to act/suspend the rapist. UCT has instructed me to not to report the matter, and to keep it ‘internal’.”
The user said they had received threats from the alleged rapist and were currently in witness protection.
When alerted to the tweets by online users, UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the student in question had refused help from the university.
“She must say what her real agenda is.”
The alleged perpetrator is a joint staff member between the provincial Health Department and UCT, in a relationship governed by a bilateral agreement.
The police and the department are also conducting their own investigations.
UCT said it was urgently attending to the matter, and that since Wednesday morning, it has facilitated the removal of nine of these students from the residence. The other two students are unaccounted for at this stage.
The university’s Student Wellness Service (SWS) has also been on site to offer support.
“The SWS’s support services remain available to affected students. Furthermore, there has been the intervention of UCT’s Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC) in the matter. The OIC is responsible for investigating matters relating to GBV and inclusivity,” UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said.
“The UCT executive views the issues raised in a serious light and will work with the SRC and all the relevant stakeholders to address these.”