Stellenbosch suspends students responsible for neo-Nazi posters

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Yesterday, Stellenbosch University (SU) rector and vice-chancellor Wim de Villiers suspended the three students responsible for the neo-Nazi posters put up on campus earlier this week.

De Villiers explained that while the students had been suspended, disciplinary proceedings were still ongoing. SU’s Central Disciplinary Committee (CDC) is dealing with the matter now and will decide on what steps are to be taken next.

De Villiers said, “The case is receiving priority attention. The disciplinary process should now be allowed to run its course.” He also reiterated that the university “will continue to take a stand against racism and unfair discrimination, and promote human rights, equality, human dignity and democracy”.

Yesterday the Student Representative Council (SRC) held an emergency mass meeting after news broke that the identity of the students was now known. The meeting took place at 1pm on the Rooiplein. The purpose of the meeting was to publicly condemn the posters and any forms of racism.

Jaco Greeff Brink, Head of the Equality Unit (EU), spoke first at the meeting. Brink said that the posters are a clear violation of the university’s policy and further a sign of harrassment. Brink also told students that the final report was going to be filed.

Maxwell Mlangeni, SRC vice-chair, was the next speaker to address students. He explained that the SRC had called on the EU asking that the culprits receive the maximum punishment. Mlangeni also said how the culprits should not form part of the student body and that the posters had undermined the SRC’s attempt to create an African-centered university.

The Dean of Students, Tania Overmeyer, was present at the meeting on behalf of the university to listen to students’ outrage. Overmeyer said that she was impressed how the SRC and other student leaders had come together. She also reassured students that “we will work towards ensuring justice for us”.

Leaders from Afriforum, the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) and the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) also spoke at the meeting. The meeting was disrupted when it was revealed that one of the students involved in putting up the posters was present and wanted an opportunity to address students.

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According to SU student newspaper Die Matie, the student involved said that his name was Dean Dart and that Nwabisa Gcilitshana, an SRC member, prevented him from speaking. Gcilitshana said that this was not his space and that “he has no platform here”.

Dart spoke to Die Matie and explained that “the posters are supposed to provoke the left to start re-analysing what they’ve become, because they have become everything that those posters represent.”

Written by Jody Davison