Students at Rhodes University in Grahamstown bared their breasts in protest against sexual violence at the institution. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - Students protesting against rape culture at the University of Rhodes successfully pressured the administration into accepting some of their demands on Friday.

Vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela thanked the protesters for raising the “very important issue” of rape and sexual assault but his words were being drowned out by students from the #RUReferenceList movement singing outside the building.

“The challenge of ridding our university of the pernicious scourge of sexual violence and rape calls for a big, bold and imaginative response and not just tinkering around the margins,” Mabizela said in the press conference.

But on Friday morning Mabizela announced that the Rhodes administration would only agree to four out of the original eight demands from the students.

He said that Rhodes would hire more workers for the Harassment Office, improve sensitivity training, use external prosecutors for rape cases and mark the transcripts of students who have been found guilty of sexual violence.

The university did not agree to the demands that those charged with sexual assault be suspended from living on campus, barred from occupying student leadership positions and have their permanent academic record marked.

“Looking at the list, it's nothing particularly difficult to achieve,” said Mitchell Shaun Parker, the editor-in-chief of Activate, an independent student publication at Rhodes.

Students also demanded the university build a task team of students and faculty to tackle the myriad ways that rape culture is perpetuated on campus and recommend solutions.

Mabizela said he would respond to the students’ unanswered demands by Saturday.

Rhodes University students bared their breasts in protest against sexual violence at the institution. The names of 11 students accused of rape were earlier posted on social media.

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