Sexual Harassment: Unisa SRC Member Suspended

The University of South Africa (Unisa) on Friday said it has placed a Unisa National Student Representative Council (NSRC) member accused of sexual harassment on precautionary suspension.

The leading open distance e-learning university in Africa said it acknowledges the interest from internal and external stakeholders in having the complaint attended to speedily.

“We also assure stakeholders that this matter received swift attention by relevant officials in the university immediately after it was reported,” said Unisa.

The university said it ensured that its interventions complied with relevant legislation and policy.

Unisa said it was sensitive to the national and international efforts against gender-based violence and aligned to the position of higher health on sexual harassment and gender discrimination.  

The university said the complainant was offered counselling and continues to receive emotional support from qualified professionals.

In the intervening period, both the complainant and alleged perpetrator agreed to have an informal mediation process to try and resolve the challenge – as prescribed by policy.

“The complainant recently informed the university that she is withdrawing her participation from the mediation process and requested that the formal disciplinary be reinstituted,” said Unisa.

“The university has acceded to this request and is proceeding with the formal disciplinary process and the disciplinary hearing has been set down for Monday, 15 November 2021.”

The university said it will ensure that this case is finalised as speedily as possible.

“In the meantime, the university has resolved to place the NSRC member on precautionary suspension until the finalisation of the matter,” said Unisa.

“Whilst the university does not, as a rule, discuss the merits of such cases in the public domain, it however always ensures that appropriate action is taken against anyone found guilty of a serious misconduct such as sexual harassment.”