THE UNIVERSITY is sitting tight on the official reports from sexual harassment hearings which resulted in the dismissal of two lecturers last week.
Tsepo wa Mamatu and Dr Last Moyo were fired last week by the university after they were found guilty of sexual harassment and misconduct during hearings conducted by Wits and law firm Bowman Gilfillan.
However, the details of the harassment and misconduct leading to the dismissals appear to be a tightly kept secret with only one staff member, Employee Relations head Elaine Milton, in possession of a report on the hearing’s findings.[pullquote]“Under no circumstance can I release the details of the report, it is completely confidential and would be a breach of policy to release it,” [/pullquote]
Vice Chancellor Adam Habib told Wits Vuvuzela that he did not have a copy of the report and did not know its exact contents.
Xolisile Selatela, associate attorney from Bowman Gilfillan, participated in Moyo’s hearing but said “no, I don’t know,” when asked if she knew the details of why the former lecturer was dismissed. She then put down the phone abruptly.
Milton, the only person with the report, declined to speak about its details with Wits Vuvuzela. “Under no circumstance can I release the details of the report, it is completely confidential and would be a breach of policy to release it,” Milton said.
Moyo declined to comment on the report while wa Mamatu could not be reached for comment. The dismissals are a point of contention with the lecturers. In previous interviews, wa Mamatu said the university was only trying to claim “moral authority” by firing him while Moyo said the accusations against him were not serious and he was fired for “petty” reasons.
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel told Wits Vuvuzela: “The university stands by their decision made by the independent chair of the disciplinary committee.” Patel added that both former staff members had a right to appeal their dismissals.
Meanwhile, a campus wide inquiry into sexual harassment policy is also being conducted by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.
CALS director Bonita Meyersfeld said that it was important to identify flaws in the existing policy such as when it did not address inappropriate behaviour by students and staff.[pullquote align=”right”]“The university stands by their decision made by the independent chair of the disciplinary committee.” [/pullquote]
The policy inquiry will release a report at the end of the month. In contrast to the report on the disciplinary hearings, Meyersfield said the policy report would be made public.
Meyersfeld said there was already debate over its findings. For example, people had strong opinions on whether or not student-lecturer relationships should be banned.
“There is no silver bullet solution and we have to work hard to apply our minds to the entire university to achieve this,” Meyersfield said.
A list of specific questions asked by staff and students about sexual harassment policy has been drawn up and will be included in the policy report.
- Wits Vuvuzela. BREAKING: Fired sex pests named. July 31, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela. Dismissed “sex pests” speak: Dr Last Moyo and Tsepo wa Mamatu react to their sackings. August 2, 2013.