Stellenbosch SRC candidate barred from elections after social media posts
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Cape Town - The Anti-GBV Movement Stellenbosch University has condemned the university's “consistent, unfair treatment of student leaders and activists as well as its appalling approach in tackling gender-based violence on campus”.
This after the university’s centre for disciplinary committee (CDC) terminated former student leader Zizo Vokwana’s SRC candidacy because she was allegedly found guilty by the committee of contravening provisions of the student disciplinary code when she allegedly posted about gender-based violence on social media on two occasions.
The movement said what was more alarming was the decision of the CDC to punish Vokwana with more severity than perpetrators of gender-based violence in the institution.
“The extent of targeting and investigation experienced by Vokwana sets an extremely concerning precedent for victims of GBV and allies as it is perceived that the university would rather silence and punish individuals who speak out than invest more energy and genuine policy work into disciplining alleged perpetrators of gender-based violence at its historically oppressive institution,” it said.
The movement demanded a review of the rulings of the CDC, an external investigation into the disciplinary process of the university and feedback from the management regarding the implementation of the 2019 gender-based violence memorandum.
Vokwana said she had helped numerous students with many issues and was one of the anti-GBV activist who were trying to dismantle rape culture on campus.
“I have received a lot of institutional bullying from the university to a point where I don’t even feel safe in my own room. They have been intimidating and violating me for months now.
“Using structures like their central disciplinary committee (CDC) to try and expel me from the university, they’ve found me guilty for three events, two of these I was giving awareness and sharing people’s lived experiences on social media with their consent and request.
“Women have suffered in silence for so long and yet they still don’t want us to talk about GBV on campus. Even if I was guilty for posting on social media, to be expelled because of that is extreme,” she said.
Vokwana said she constantly has to look over her shoulder and this has affected her mental health.
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said the university respects the independence of the students’ election processes and would not interfere with it as it was guided by the student constitution. He said the election process was independent and the election convenor would communicate on the matters today.