Tell UCT we want real action against racism

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Tell UCT we want real action against racism
Tell UCT we want real action against racism
100 signatures required

After Tim Osrin’s vicious attacks on Cynthia Joni, yet more racist attacks have rocked Cape Town. This time 5 alleged UCT students viciously kicked mother of 6 Delia Adonis. Her attackers called her a "..coloured c***" and "coloured mother******" [1]. In another attack, 19 year old UCT BCom student Djavan Arrigone has been charged with assault after he urinated on Khayelitsha taxi driver Michelle Nomgcana and reportedly said, "I don’t care if I pee on a black man". [2]

If we don’t take a strong stand against racially motivated violence, we’ll live in a South Africa that produces more people like Jan van Tonder, a Claremont dentist who viciously beat Muhammed Makungwa with a sjambok because he allegedly thought Mr Makungwa had broken into his BMW. [3]

Our educational institutions must play a role in combating this culture of racism. If enough of us come together we can demand that UCT does more than just ‘investigate the issue’. UCT has an opportunity to follow the lead of the University of Pretoria who responded to our campaign which demanded action on racism. The Vice-Chancellor at Tuks has agreed to introduce a compulsory program for all first year students to end discrimination at the University.

[1] Cop in hot water over racial assault, iol, November 24 2014
[2] ‘I don’t care if I pee on a black man’, iol, November 15 2014
[3] Attempted murder charge for whipping? iol, November 13 2014

Will you sign?

Dr Max Price (Vice-Chancellor of UCT),

We, the undersigned, ask that UCT as a publicly funded institution, take a far stronger stance against racism and seek to root out this culture.

Although you have condemned the allegations that UCT students have been involved in racially motivated assaults, in a letter to your SRC, all media coverage has focused on supporting the investigation and stating this does not reflect all students at UCT, rather than stating categorically that such behaviour by any UCT student or staff is unacceptable.

While your investigation into allegations continue, it is unclear whether the two students facing court are still allowed to roam UCT. We ask that these students and those in the future are suspended as a precautionary measure to protect others from racism and violence. We also ask that the university is transparent about the investigation.

At present the 2014 'Book 3 Handbook' on general rules and policies is incredibly vague and complicated when it comes to disciplinary measures against racism and racial harassment. We find it alarming that UCT’s process for dealing with plagiarism including expulsion is very clear, while an act that violates human dignity is far less clear and understood.

While it is encouraging that there is an alleged compulsory program for first year students at orientation that addresses racism, it is clear that this program has failed. We ask that you follow the lead of the University of Pretoria in light of the incident of blackface, and review such programs and urgently improve their effectiveness. In the case of UCT it is clear such a program should in 2015 be made compulsory for all students and staff.

Introducing an effective program to tackle all forms of racism, that is compulsory for all staff and students in 2015, as well as amending your handbook so that it is crystal clear what constitutes racism and that, like plagiarism, there is a zero tolerance approach that results in expulsion.

A zero-tolerance approach would make it clear to your university's students, staff and alumni that prejudice is unacceptable in a South Africa founded on human dignity.