From the Vice-Chancellor

Moira Muller -- Fri, 06/23/2017 - 09:44

Student disciplinary matters

18 July 2017

Dear colleague

Over the past few years, the management of the NWU has focused on a strategy to transform and position the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence with a commitment to social justice. This culminated in major structural changes embodied in our new Statute, which we are in the process of implementing.

As chief student disciplinary officer of the NWU, I had the opportunity to consider a disciplinary matter which involved students of the university publishing comments on social media. Students on the Potchefstroom Campus were accused of publishing allegedly racist remarks in May 2017.

During a hearing on 30 May 2017, a student was found guilty and a sanction was handed down. He was suspended from the university for two years, but the sentence was suspended for the remainder of the duration of his studies. He also received the penalty of a fine of R 5 000. He was found guilty on two charges. The first charge was that his conduct was detrimental or could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, and the second, a charge of making statements on social media amounting to discrimination in the form of racism.

A second student was charged with conduct allegedly being detrimental or which could have been detrimental to the good name, order, discipline or performance of the university or any part of the university, making statements on social media which allegedly amount to discrimination and/or hate speech, and also allegedly contravening the social media policy of the university. This student requested a postponement, and his case was scheduled for 18 July 2017.

The matter was put on hold today and the provisional suspension of the student in question was lifted, to allow the student to continue with classes.

After consulting the members of my senior management team who were available this afternoon, I have decided that the case against the second student should not proceed and should be withdrawn. This is so, because the evidence to be presented does not clearly justify the continuation of the matter.

My team and I are working hard to build a culture which is socially inclusive and cohesive, welcoming and embracing the diversity of our university community, mindful of our historical context. Incidents of this nature are against all of these and we must apologise to the staff and students of the NWU and, in fact, the public at large. It is clear that we need to do more in our mission of educating students to live and work in South Africa, in the spirit of our mission, our values and our country's constitution.

The university management condemns any act of racism or discrimination in the strongest possible terms. It is against the ethos and values of the NWU and contradicts our efforts to work towards social justice. We shall continue to work tirelessly to build a culture of which the university community and the rest of South Africa can be proud.

Kind regards

Prof Dan Kgwadi

Senior management appointments

23 June 2017

View the senior appointments that have been made by Council as part of the restructuring process to implement a new unitary model for the NWU here. These appointments, made by Council during its meeting of 22 June 2017, take effect from 1 July 2017.

Constitution of the SRC and the Campus Student Councils

22 June 2017

The Council has approved the Constitution of the SRC and the Campus Student Councils at its meeting on 22 June 2017. This marks a new era in the life of students at the NWU. Our strategy is aimed at creating a more unitary university across our various campuses where we celebrate the full range of our diversity and create on each of our campuses a socially inclusive environment which promotes student success and properly prepares students for the world of work.

In this interim phase of our development, we will utilise currently applicable electoral processes to elect an SRC in August 2017 and then align these by September 2017 for the future.

I encourage all students to participate in the electoral process and foster the culture of engagement, tolerance and debate which should characterise all our activities.

Yours sincerely

Prof Dan Kgwadi