By Anakin Curtis
In the early hours of the morning on Thursday 22 September, a resident of Helshoogte Men’s Residence entered his room after a night out and urinated on his roommate’s chair and the floor. This is according to a statement released by the residence on their Instagram.
The house was informed about the incident via in-person floor meetings and residents were given the opportunity to ask questions. The two residents involved in the incident requested that they be allowed to focus on their studies. The affected student was moved to another room and received support from Helshoogte leadership.
According to an official statement released by the University, the student had been intoxicated at the time of the incident. The implicated student was immediately suspended from the residence pending the outcome of an investigation by the Office for Student Discipline at SU. SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers will consider the facts of the case and decide on the appropriate remedy, which includes suspension from the University.
“The University considers details surrounding the investigation to be confidential but must emphasise its deep concern regarding irresponsible use of alcohol on and around its campus, notwithstanding its extensive interventions and latest revised residence rules that regulate alcohol use in residences,” states Prof de Villiers.
University management emphasised human dignity as a non-negotiable value that must be respected and upheld. This stance was echoed in the finding of the disciplinary hearing involving Theuns du Toit on the 23rd of June 2022. This incident, as per the finding made by the CDC, was marked by a blatant disregard for the values of human dignity and equality due to the inherently racist nature of the transgression. It was dealt with accordingly, resulting in the suspension and subsequent expulsion of Theuns du Toit from SU.
“The University takes a zero-tolerance approach to racism, discrimination, prejudice and conduct which assails the dignity of another person,” says Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning and Teaching following the expulsion.
Although the incident at Helshoogte appears not to have been racially motivated, there remains concern of the effects of alcohol abuse among residence members across campus. Alcohol abuse poses an existential threat to the safety and dignity of students who are affected by the conduct of intoxicated students.
A statement released by the Student Representative Council (SRC) reads as follows, “We challenge all residences to critically reassess their residence cultures through intentional reflections and honest discussions.”