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To: Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela of the university currently known as Rhodes

Solidarity with students demanding #EndRapeCulture

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with concerned students and workers at the university currently known as Rhodes who demand the following:

- Immediately cease the police and security brutality against students involved with #NakedProtest #RhodesShutDown #RUReferencelist

- Intervene to drop all charges against protestors

- Apologise for inaction from the University currently known as Rhodes.

- Reform the university’s rape policy and trauma services, as they fail to hold rapists to account.

- Stop stalling and change the university's rape policy to change the definition of rape and remove the burden of proof from victims.

We as students of the University Currently Known as Rhodes (UCKAR), in consultation with the SRC, demand that the University take the following action:
1. Begin investigations as soon as a student has been accused of rape or sexual assault. These students should be removed from residence, and suspended from attending class, while the investigation is pending. This demand for investigation procedures must be met immediately, beginning with those students named on the so-called “Reference List.”
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
2. Should the University’s prosecutors (Sarah Driver and Gordon Barker) have any conflict of interest in a case, they must step down from the prosecution thereof.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
3. Refrain from recognising any student society or organisation—including the Student Representative Council—that does not adopt a policy for sexual assault in their Constitution or other governing document. The SRC has been tasked with the review of all SRC society constitutions.
Time frame: We expect an ongoing review of all constitutions or governing documents to be completed within 6 months. This would entail a monthly update on the process of investigations. Upon complettion we expect these new constitutions and governing documents enforeable by the 1st of January 2017.
4. Suspend any student employed or appointed by the University from their position while an investigation of rape or sexual assault is pending.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
5. Inform the student body of the names of the members of the recently-appointed task team and their qualifications for appointment so that the student body may review the composition of the team.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
6. Include in the task team students not institutionally recognised and selected by the general student body. The task team is to further include external professionals as well as members of NEHAWU.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
7. A public apology from the Vice Chancellor and his senior management for the aggressive manner in which they have responded to the protest. This specifically includes the assault by the Vice Chancellor of a female student on Tuesday 19 April 2016. A further public apology is demanded from House Committee Members, Subwardens and Wardens who threatened students with hours if they participated in the protest.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
8. Agree not to take disciplinary action against students who participated in lawful protest from the time that the protest began on Sunday, April 17, 2016 until the protest ends.
Time frame: response expected by 17h00 on the 22nd of April 2016
We acknowledge that some of these demands will take time to implement, so our request is that the University provide a written and signed statement, with timelines for implementation, by Friday, April 22, at 17:00, responding to each of our abovementioned demands.

Why is this important?

*Trigger warning* If we as a society believe rape is wrong, we will actively address policies and spaces that reinforce rape culture, and protect perpetrators while further violating the dignity of rape survivors.

The current sexual assault policy at the university currently known as Rhodes is problematic as it excludes victims in its definition of rape who have been forced to penetrate their perpetrators. It also puts the onus on the victim to prove their perpetrator intended to rape them.


2016-04-21 07:22:56 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2016-04-20 20:00:56 +0200

500 signatures reached

2016-04-20 15:44:29 +0200

100 signatures reached

2016-04-20 14:44:52 +0200

50 signatures reached

2016-04-20 14:12:31 +0200

25 signatures reached

2016-04-20 13:43:57 +0200

10 signatures reached