Wits university undertakes sexual harassment inquiry

07 March 2013 - 17:17 By Sapa

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is undertaking a campus-wide probe into sexual harassment, its management says.

Sexual harassment allegations against a lecturer were also being investigated, acting rector Tawana Kupe said in a statement.

The campus investigation would be completed in August this year, he said.

"This inquiry is being led by the head of the centre of applied legal studies, Prof Bonita Meyersfeld, and Joe Mathibe, from an external law firm.

"This independent inquiry will assess existing policies and procedures which ought to be in place at the university, for the purpose of preventing instances of sexual harassment."

It would seek to come up with recommendations on ways to prevent and address future occurrences of sexual harassment.

"Members of the investigation committee will refer allegations against specific individuals to the university," said Kupe.

The investigation into a member of staff accused of sexual harassment was continuing. The lecturer was currently on special leave.

"It is anticipated that this entire investigation will be completed within the next two to three months, subject to no delays occurring and the number of witnesses coming forward," Kupe said.

"The university is appealing to staff and students to formally report all incidences of sexual harassment, so that they can be investigated immediately."

On Tuesday, Wits said it had ended a lecturer's contract after past accusations of sexual harassment, which he had failed to disclose, came to light.

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