Stellenbosch University is in the news once more as another student urinated on their roommate's property. Unfortunately, the University is no stranger to such scandals, which seem to happen more often than not. Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, the institution's Vice Chancellor for Learning and Education, reported the incident on Saturday, 24 September. The student's identity is not yet revealed. However, Ramjugernath has confirmed that the student has been suspended.
His statement specified that a drunk student allegedly urinated on his roommate's chair in the Helshoogte residence. "Residence management was made aware of an incident on Thursday and immediately reported it to the relevant university structures for urgent investigation," said Ramjugernath. "It also received immediate and top priority attention by SU executive management. The incident involved an intoxicated student urinating on the chair of his roommate. The implicated student was suspended from the residence pending the outcome an investigation."
He added that the case would be handled by the University's office of student discipline, and the vice-chancellor will consider the student's suspension from the University in Teaching and Learning, Prof Wim de Villiers. "As and when appropriate, SU will communicate further on the outcomes of the investigations and processes that are underway as a matter of priority," he explained.
This scandal is the second of its nature at the University this year. On 15 May, a video of a student named Theuns du Toit circulated. Du Toit was filmed urinating on the desk of a fellow student, Babalo Ndwanyana, at Huis Marais residence. After investigations, he was found guilty of breaking the University's Disciplinary Code for students. He was promptly suspended.
"The University takes a zero-tolerance approach to racism, discrimination, prejudice, and conduct which assails the dignity of another person," said Ramjugernath.
"The University viewed this case in a very serious light. This was evident in, amongst others, the original temporary suspension of Mr Du Toit from the University while also appointing Justice Sisi Khampepe to lead an independent commission of enquiry into alleged racism at SU," he added.
During the judgment, the topic of alcohol use among Stellenbosch students arose as it was revealed that du Toit was inebriated before the incident. It read: "SU is no stranger to alcohol abuse and alcohol-related controversies. As is ever-present in SA, SU continues to battle the negative effects of alcohol. However, being a university, it has had to deal with the added difficulties of young adults engaging in a culture of binge-drinking,"
The Disciplinary panel was informed that Du Toit and a friend consumed approximately a bottle and a half of brandy before Du Toit entered Ndwanyana's room. "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," stated Ramjugernath.
"As we celebrate Heritage Day today, it is painful to see such practices are still part of the toxic culture at the university," said Cameron Dugmore of the ANC. "We will also support all those progressive forces at Stellenbosch, on and off campus, who are in support of transforming the racist and institutional culture which lives on there in certain quarters," he added.