Taylor was dismissed in September following an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment by Wits.
The editing, mostly by anonymous users, started in September with a simple change noting Taylor’s dismissal in what was then only a two paragraph biography.
“Professor Taylor was reportedly fired by Wits University in September 2013 for sexual harassment,” read the edit.
The next day another user substantially lengthened the biography to eight paragraphs and changed the line referring to Taylor’s dismissal.
“In 2013 Professor Taylor was, according to Wits University’s Head of Communications, put on special leave and ‘escorted off the campus’,” read the change.
Shortly thereafter, the Wiki war over Taylor’s page was in full swing with this sentenced removed only to be added again the next day. Several other changes were made, back and forth, to the page.[pullquote align=”right”]Removed links as it is misleading, all false reporting pertaining to Taylor’s case [/pullquote]
A major change was made on October 7 when Taylor’s page was changed to suggest that the professor was dismissed due to racism on the part of Wits.
The edit read: “In 2013 Professor Taylor was dismissed for ‘improper conduct’ by the historically-white Wits University for having had an affair with an African student; in a context within which that University has become increasingly ‘toxic’”.
Links to news articles on the allegations of sexual harassment were added and removed several times during the Wiki war.
Wikipedia requires that users give reason for editing a page. One user who had removed links to the news articles justified the action by calling them “false reporting” and threatened other Wikipedia editors with “civil legal action”.
“Removed links as it is misleading, all false reporting pertaining to Taylor’s case will be facing civil legal action so please do not repeat on this page,” read the edit.
Editing to Taylors’ Wikipedia page has continued throughout the month and it is not clear when the tit for tat editing will end. The page was last edited on Wednesday.
In September 2012 Taylor stepped down as head of the political studies department following allegations by students of inappropriate behaviour were published in Wits Vuvuzela.
Taylor was put on special leave in March 2013. At the time he denied the allegations and told Wits Vuvuzela he was considering legal action.
- Wits Vuvuzela: BREAKING: Third “sex pest” sacked. September 5 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela: Wits sexual harassment inquiry complete. September 4, 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela: Dismissed “sex pests” speak: Dr Last Moyo and Tsepo wa Mamatu react to their sackings. August 2, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela: BREAKING: Fired sex pests named. July 31, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela: Sex accused kicked off campus. April 19, 2013.