Stellenbosch University has set up a panel to probe shocking initiation-like allegations surrounding its Wilgenhof residence.
According to SU, “disturbing items” were found in two rooms at Wilgenhof during an audit of the spaces and amenities of the residence.
"The disturbing items have been removed and stored in safekeeping. These two rooms have been repainted and will be used for their original purpose," SU said in a statement.
The university said a panel, consisting of the university's Deputy Registrar of Governance, Ethics and Compliance, an experienced independent Advocate from the Cape Bar and a former experienced university executive in higher education, will review the items and advise on the next steps.
The panel will be asked to submit its report by the end of February.
The probe and subsequent repaint come following claims of abuse at the residence.
SU Rector, Professor Wim de Villiers, has further moved to assure staff, students and parents that the university is attending to the matter with the seriousness it deserves within the approved policies and practices of the institution.
"Let us allow the panel to do its work and in the process help us to shape the welcoming and inclusive centre of excellence that we are all striving for,“ he said.
SU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Deresh Ramjugernath, added that significant attention and preparation have gone into the welcoming for 2024 to enable a positive experience for the new first year students arriving shortly.
"University management can assure students and parents that it is resolute in its unwavering commitment to the safety, security and wellbeing of everyone on our campuses,“ he said.
In 2022, SU launched an official probe after a white student allegedly urinated on property that belongs to a student of colour. The incident took place in the Huis Marais residence. Theuns du Toit was expelled from SU.