Cosatu lauds Wits on harassment cases

Wits University’s strong stand against sexual harassment is commendable, the Congress of SA Trade Unions has said.

“(We) applaud the strong line taken by the (institution) against staff found guilty of sexual harassment,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement today.

Cosatu also welcomed the university’s zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, the university’s own Centre for Applied Legal Studies found that the university’s policy on sexual harassment was not clearly defined.

Centre director Professor Bonita Meyersfeld said the unpredictable approach in dealing with harassment created an unclear environment for people who wanted to come forward to report sexual harassment.

“The university’s current sexual harassment policy is vague … It is abundantly clear that the majority of staff and students are not aware of the university’s sexual harassment policy,” the report said.

After a third lecturer was found guilty of sexual harassment, vice-chancellor Adam Habib adopted the zero-tolerance policy.

“We hope that the swift action taken by the university in these three cases sets a clear example that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form on our campuses,” Habib said in a statement.

The university was still investigating a case against another lecturer.

In April, the university appointed the firm Norton Rose Fulbright SA to probe sexual harassment claims following an article in the Sunday Times newspaper which claimed that a lecturer in the university’s drama department had harassed a number of his students.

Four staff members were investigated.

In July, the university fired two staff members for sexual harassment after disciplinary hearings, which were chaired by Habib.


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