Stellenbosch University admit ‘much more to do’ to combat racism at institution

Stellenbosch University admit ‘much more to do’ to combat racism at institution

Stellenbosch University Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers has received the report of the independent Khampepe inquiry into alleged racism at the institution.

Stellenbosch University
Twitter/Stellenbosch University

The university in June had requested for an external independent inquiry into the alleged racism in May this year as part of what it described as a commitment to root out racism and discrimination.

In June, the Khampepe commission formally started its work led by retired justice Sisi Khampepe.

"This is a sobering moment for the university,” said De Villiers.

“It is evident that black staff members and students do not feel welcome here, despite our deliberate transformation efforts to date. We must face the reality that there is a gap between our intentions with regards to various transformation initiatives and the implementation thereof. We must work hard to align our institutional commitments with what is happening in practice and on ground level.”

The inquiry also probed past incidents of racism at the institution, as well as improving the university's racial diversity, equity and inclusion.

"In formulating its recommendations on improving the University's racial diversity, equity and inclusion, the commission considered the following: Incidents of alleged racism at the University; the current state of racial diversity, equity and inclusion in the campus culture, with specific reference to racism and resultant prejudice; given the university's stance of zero tolerance towards racism, whether the current structures of the university and its policies, rules and processes are sufficient to most effectively address the lived experience of students and staff concerning racism."

De Villers added that there is still so much that the institution has to do.

“Although there is much in the report for the university to take heart from, specific fault lines have also been identified. There is a lot of work to do across SU, in the interest of all our students and staff, in the sincere spirit of being welcoming and inclusive.

“Justice Khampepe made various recommendations that we are now studying deeper. We will evaluate the findings and implement action plans to address the areas for improvement as identified in the commission's recommendations,” the statement read.

The university will communicate further on the findings, action plans and the way forward as soon as the report has been finalised.


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