By Reggie Dinca
A decision on the future of the Reitz men's residence at the University of the Free State would be taken at a council meeting on June 6, acting rector Professor Teuns Verschoor said on Wednesday.
Reitz hostel, at the centre of a racist video controversy, has apologised unconditionally to all students and other hostels.
The video featured black university employees on their knees eating food which had apparently been urinated on by a white student.
The Reitz residence on the campus of the University of the Free State will be closed by the end of this semester.
Of the 338 who have responded to the IOL poll question, "Was the decision to close the Reitz men's residence fair?", 156 voted "no" (46 percent), while 112 voted "yes" (33 percent) and 70 voted "who cares" (21 percent).
Some of comments from IOL readers:
sp wrote: What we can agree upon is that the video made by the 4 Reitz students was wrong. The xenophobic attacks are also wrong. There should be not reason to use one to downplay the other. Closing down the Reitz residence is a waste of decent accomdation and will require a waste of fund to organise new accomodation and do whatever conversion is planned for the building. There should be a plan going in place instead of a reaction that will have no sustained positive impact.
LL wrote: Many innocent students in this hostel (racist or not) cannot be made to suffer for the dirty few. Since the hostel is part of the university, they might as well close the whole institution. More emphasis should have been on diversity when intergration took place. The poor blacks were absorbed into a historically racist institution where neither race group was prepared to co-exist and the result is perpetuation of controversial practices (that foreign to blacks and acceptable to whites).
Matt wrote: In this day and age anything goes if it suites the powers that be. Close reitz and disband the scorpions, certainly nice and appropriate for certain elements
Simon wrote: The only reitz that should come down is the interest rates. The government can't get the interest rates down so they target the reitz . EISH!!!
Nyembezi wrote: It won't help. They are just closing down the problem without dealing with it. Those students seem to have more control than the governmnent. What needs to change is the attitude of the students. What an inconvenience let them keep the residence open and deal with the problem head on.
Avner Eliyahu Romm wrote: Not all the people of that residence participated in the act of pervercy. On the other hand, should there be a proper investigation of the horrible acts of xenophobic attacks, I suspect that there will be a good reason to close whole residence facilities.
Julian wrote: Go ahead and persecute the 4 whiteys for being complete idiots... grandstand, and shut the hostel, saying it was a hot bed of white oppressive racism... meanwhile, the whole world gets to watch the black brothers and sisters raping, murdering, looting, burning, etc. And what do they see? Rwanda style ethnic cleansing.
Anonymous wrote: Racists are everywhere. If we had to close down all companies, hostels, businesses, clubs, unions etc. that have racists, there would be nothing left. The whole hostel is not racist!
Mabhebeza wrote: what they did is unacceptable and they should be panished for wrong doing. but closing the Reits is not a good thing they are innocent students who stayed there too what about them? isn't this a Racism too, closing students accomodation.
SCELO wrote: The Reitz was not just closed without a number of engagement by the principal with all stakeholders who have interest on the university affairs. It is a sound decision and cannot be reversed.
Umlung'omnyama wrote: I think the University has a valid reason on why they decided to close Reitz. Maybe they have foreseen that it?s a breeding place for racists.
Enougn wrote: This is not fair, it was only 4 students not all of them. they need to reopen the REITZ Enougn is Enougn!!
Steve C.T wrote: Closing down the residence is not dealing with the real issues that affect society at large; I'm sure some people will feel better once students who were not even remotely involved in this despicable debacle are displaced and have to find alternative accomodation. Are we now at the point where one is "guilty" simply by association or proximity?
maainhona wrote: What purpose does it serve to close down the residence? I mean innocent students are now going to have to find alternative accomodation, just because of four racist students. The university should have just dealt with the guilty parties, and left the residence as is. It's as simple as that.