THE WITS Media Board has “unanimously” concluded that Wits Vuvuzela did not contravene the Wits media code in publishing allegations of sexual harassment against former media studies lecturer Dr Last Moyo earlier this year.
Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academics Prof Andrew Crouch said the board found the newspaper had not violated the ethical code. “There were many other claims, but the only question that we had to consider was whether the ethical code had been transgressed.”
Moyo had laid a complaint with the board in March. One of his complaints was that Wits Vuvuzela reporter, Dineo Bendile, did not disclose to him that she was also one of his accusers.[pullquote]”the media board then took a vote by ballot and it was unanimous that the university code was not transgressed.”[/pullquote]Crouch said this was the first time the board had met this year and various processes had to be followed before the actual case could be started.
Crouch explained that, due to the matters raised, it was important for the board to have specialist input. This was the reason the process had been lengthy. Two “fairly senior” experts currently working in the media had been asked for their help and practical experience.
The legal office was mandated with providing a report after interviewing all those involved in the matter. “On the basis of all that information, the media board then took a vote by ballot and it was unanimous that the university code was not transgressed.”
Commenting on the hearing, Bendile said she had been disappointed by the lack of communication throughout the process. “It took so long and was done so quietly that I had even forgotten about it. If something like this happens again, they should give more regular updates because it’s just frustrating.”
During their sittings, Crouch said the board discovered the media code had not been reviewed in years and would need to be updated.
“Like many other policies of the university, we’ll most probably have to also look at our media board policy because it was not reviewed for some time and, in the mean time, technology has changed like twitter, Facebook and all these things and it was written at a time when those things did not exist.”
Crouch said university structures and media experts would work “to tighten the media policy in order to ensure that we have a more relevant policy”.
- Wits Vuvuzela. UPDATED: Wits Vuvuzela responds to lecturer complaint. March 20, 2013