UCT suspends two students on sexual assault allegations

Aron Hyman Reporter
Students at the University of Cape Town broke lockdown regulations on Tuesday night to find an alleged sexual assault perpetrator and take him to Mowbray police station. File photo.
Students at the University of Cape Town broke lockdown regulations on Tuesday night to find an alleged sexual assault perpetrator and take him to Mowbray police station. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

Two University of Cape Town students were “suspended” and barred from campus on Friday for their alleged involvement in a sexual assault case.

The university’s communications department released a statement on Friday in which they said the suspension did not extend to participation in online academic activities.

UCT vice-chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng earlier this week warned students against vigilantism after a group of students defied lockdown regulations on Tuesday evening to look for an alleged sexual assault perpetrator at the university's residence.

The group allegedly took the student, who held a leadership position until he resigned earlier this week, to Mowbray police station, where they tried to convince his alleged victim, who was also part of the group, to open a police case.

TimesLIVE understands that due to the pressure of the crowd and the situation, the victim refused to open a case on Tuesday evening. No case was registered by Wednesday afternoon when TimesLIVE made enquiries to the SA Police Service.

However, the latest UCT statement appears to indicate that one of the suspended students is a respondent in a sexual assault case.

The second student, they said, was suspended for his alleged involvement in the case.

“The students have an opportunity to make submissions on why this order should not be made final at a hearing to be convened within 72 hours of the provisional order,” said the Friday statement.

“If the order is made final the respondents have a further opportunity to lodge an appeal. Any notice of appeal does not suspend the effect of the suspension order unless the appeal is successful.”

The statement said according to the UCT sexual misconduct policy, “a suspension notice serves as a protective measure issued without prejudice to the respondent to protect a complainant from gender-based violence whether or not a formal disciplinary process is instituted or contemplated”.

“It further allows the university to investigate and resolve the complaint. A suspension notice is not a punitive measure but rather a protective measure for the complainant or the respondent.”

The university said the matter was being investigated by the university’s “Special Tribunal”.

“The university will ensure that due process is followed and that the matter is concluded as speedily as possible.

“UCT continues to provide support through the Office for Inclusivity and Change (OIC), whose staff have specialist skills in responding to allegations such as these. The OIC is specially set up with expert, professional skills to respond to cases where such allegations are made. The matter will be fully investigated within established policy and process.”

TimesLIVE


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