Rupert Taylor in Wiki wars

Controversy around the dismissal of former politics professor Rupert Taylor has continued to his Wikipedia page which has been changed more than 50 times in the past two weeks by rival editors.

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.





BREAKING: Third “sex pest” sacked

Prof Rupert Taylor of the Political Studies department. Pic: Facebook.

Prof Rupert Taylor of the Political Studies department. Photo: Facebook.

By Nokuthula Manyathi and Pheladi Sethusa

Prof Rupert Taylor has become the third Wits lecturer to be fired following a university investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Political studies department head Prof Daryl Glaser confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that Taylor, formerly a senior lecturer, has been dismissed after a four-month inquiry.

“I am relieved that the process has come to a conclusion,” said Glaser.

Glaser said he had just been told of Taylor’s dismissal on Thursday afternoon. He said would comment further when he had more information.

Taylor was forced to step down as head of the political studies department last year following a report in Wits Vuvuzela of sexual harassment allegations made against him by students.

In March of this year, Taylor was put on special leave and made to leave university premises.

[pullquote]“I am relieved that the process has come to a conclusion”[/pullquote] Taylor had denied the allegations at the time, telling Wits Vuvuzela: “I am deeply upset and concerned about the damaging allegations that have been published against me.”

Taylor is the third lecturer to be dismissed after allegations of sexual harassment were lodged against him. Former head of the media studies department Dr Last Moyo and former senior drama lecturer Tsepo wa Mamatu were fired in July following investigations.

In a statement regarding the most recent dismissal, Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib said the university had adopted a “zero tolerance” policy towards sexual harassment.

“We hope that the swift action taken by the university in these three cases, sets a clear example that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form on our campuses,” Habib said. Wits Vuvuzela has so far been unable to contact Taylor for comment on his dismissal.


The Last Word

FROM WITH LOVE: An email from Moyo to a female student

FROM MOYO: An email from Dr Last Moyo to a female student


In response to the concerns raised by Dr Last Moyo in his comment below, Wits Vuvuzela would like to clarify that these emails were not submitted to the sexual harassment inquiry by the student involved. In fact, Wits Vuvuzela has since learned that the emails did not form part of the evidence that lead to Dr Last Moyo’s dismissal.

Wits Vuvuzela felt it necessary to publish this information following Moyo’s interview with the Star. In the interview Moyo, denied any misconduct and said he would appeal the university’s ruling.  The student in question declined to lay a complaint with the university, and we apologise if we may have inferred as such.


More evidence against Dr Last Moyo has emerged after his dismissal from Wits University, last week.

Wits Vuvuzela has received copies of an email conversation between the former senior Media Studies Lecturer and a student who indicated that the emails made her feel uncomfortable.

In an email dated 6 June 2012, Moyo said he could not wait to have his first kiss with the student, who asked not to be named. Wits Vuvuzela has confirmed that the student was a registered Masters’ student at the time and Dr Moyo was her supervisor until he was placed on special leave.

Can I see you before you leave campus today? Kisses

“Hi I hope you are great. Was great to see you, but tell you what … I just can’t wait for that first kiss now,” he said.

In the email conversation Moyo said he could not wait to see the student after their first kiss and then asked if he could meet with her before she left campus.

“It’s like I can see you blashing [sic] already, but can I see you before you leave campus today? Kisses,” he wrote. Moyo signed the email off with his initials LDM which stand for Last Dumisani Moyo.

In an interview with The Star earlier today, Moyo denied any wrong doing and said he would appeal the University’s ruling through the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration.

[pullquote]”I just can’t wait for that first kiss now”[/pullquote]

In March, Wits Vuvuzela reported that more than six students accused Moyo of misconduct. He was placed on special leave in April while the university conducted a campus wide inquiry into sexual harassment claims. Last week, after the investigations by an independent legal team acting on behalf of the university, Moyo was found guilty of sexual misconduct and dismissed.

In the five thread email conversation Moyo also asked the student about her mother’s health and if he could see her on Friday the 7th June 2012. She responded by saying her mother was good in health and that a meeting on Friday would not be possible as her mother would still be around.

“She’s fine. I don’t think feasible ngoba (because) she’ll still be there,” she said

Flight to Zimbabwe

TIME TO FLY: an email confirming the flight

TIME TO FLY: an email confirming the flight


This is just one of two email conversations that Wits Vuvuzela has received. In their following email conversation Moyo emailed the student details of a flight booked for her to Zimbabwe.

The travel agency emailed the flight information to him, which he forwarded to the student. The student was part of a research team that was assigned to help Moyo with [pullquote align=”right”]“Hi, Your ticket. Kisses.”[/pullquote] project due to be completed in Zimbabwe. The flight was paid for by a research grant that was given for the project.

“Hi, Your ticket. Kisses.” he wrote.

Wits Vuvuzela contacted Moyo for a comment on the email conversation but he declined to answer any questions.

“I don’t want to make a comment. I’ve already been fired what else do you want from me?,” he said as he dropped the phone.





BREAKING: Fired sex pests named

Dr Last Moyo pictured at a Wits event last year. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.

Fired! Dr Last Moyo pictured at a Wits event last year. Photo: Dinesh Balliah.


Two of the four Wits University lecturers accused of sexual harassment have been dismissed.

Although the statement did not name the lecturers, Wits Vuvuzela has learned that the dismissed lecturers are Tsepo wa Mamatu and Last Moyo.

According to a statement  released today by Wits vice chancellor, Prof Adam Habib, “the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has just dismissed two employees who have been found guilty of sexual harassment.”

Habib declined to name the individuals.

Habib said that  the hearing was conducted and chaired by independent senior counsel who submitted the guilty verdict to Wits University.

Both of these lecturers were found to be in breach of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy, Relationship Guidelines and the University’s Code of Conduct.

“The staff members have been found guilty of sexual harassment and misconduct, and one of them has also been found guilty of sexual/indecent assault,” said Habib.

Habib apologised to all students who had been victimised by theses lecturers and added that the university would not tolerate any future incidents of sexual harassment.

The cases of the remaining two suspended lecturers are ongoing and these outcomes will be announced over the next couple of weeks.

Tsepo wa Mamatu, a lecturer in Drama has also been fired from Wits for sexual harassment.  Photo: Provided

Tsepo wa Mamatu, a lecturer in Drama has also been fired from Wits for sexual harassment.
Photo: Provided

As previously reported by Wits Vuvuzela, the university was conducting two inquiries and it is said that the campus-wide inquiry “is expected to be completed in the next two weeks”.

This inquiry is being led by the Head of the Centre of Applied Legal Studies, Professor Bonita Meyersfeld and Joe Mothibi from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Read more in the Wits Vuvuzela print edition or online this Friday.



ANC Youth League (Wits) rushes in defence of “sex pest”

The Wits ANC Youth League (ANCYL) rushed in the defence of senior drama lecturer Tsepo wa Mamatu and accused the South African media and Wits University of harassing black academics in the country

“This sensationalism suggests to us that Tshepo [sic] wa Mamatu is innocent and that a conspiracy is driving these allegations,” the organisation said in a statement.

The statement accuses the Sunday Times of using “faceless and spineless sources” to compromise the integrity and to humiliate wa Mamatu.

Wa Mamatu has been accused in media reports of sexually assaulting and violating his students during rehearsals, auditions and off-campus for a period of six years.

The Wits Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) published a statement responding to the Wits ANCYL asking “is the race of a person important or the nature of the crime?”

DASO added that wa Mamatu was not only accused of making advances on students but also asked them to “undress, touch themselves, sliding his fingers into their pants, sexual relationships and alleged rape over a period of 6 years”. DASO said the issue should not be about race, but about rape and sexual harassment.

Tshediso Mangope, chairperson of Wits ANCYL, emphasised that their statement wasn’t a racial issue but that wa Mamatu is being crucified by public opinion. He questioned the mechanisms and processes used by Wits University and the students who reported the lecturer to the Sunday Times.

“Why report allegations to the media when no formal complaints were made to the university and the police?” asked Mangope.

“If these students were genuinely violated, they have the opportunity to report these with law enforcement institutions (not the media),” read the Wits ANCYL statement.

SRC representative Tokelo Nhlapo said the university had a history of responding differently to cases based on race.

“I think that Tsepo [wa Mamate] is treated this way because of the colour of his skin” said Nhlapo. “If the university seeked justice, they shouldn’t have made comments in the media.”

Sibulele Mgudlwa, SRC president, believes that the case wasn’t treated fairly. He said the university responded differently when the same allegations were made last year about a white lecturer.

He said the SRC was “not defending or declaring him [wa Mamatu] guilty. [The] priority is students.”

However, Mgudlwa said the mechanisms that deal with sexual harassment and sexual violence issues should be standard across board.

“The university has a tendency of selectively applying its policies,” he said. “Response should be uniform, swift, regardless of race and academic standing.”


Sex pests in Wits Drama: More allegations surface

Sex pests in Wits Drama: More allegations surface

Witsies woke up to front page news on Sunday March 3 about accusations of sexual harassment against a senior lecturer, barely three weeks after the university marched against sexual violence.

Storified by Akinoluwa Oyedele· Mon, Mar 04 2013 02:18:46

Tsepo Wa Mamatu, deputy head of dramatic arts, is at the centre of a string of allegations of rape and sexual abuse brought to the Sunday Times by former students. It also emerged that Xoli Norman, an academic contracted to teach at Wits, faced allegations of sexual harassment at another university before his appointment.
After Wits Vuvuzela published an article about a lecturer sexually harassing students last year, it received accusations against two other lecturers before the Sunday Times’ expose. As the news spread onTwitter, some students suggested that sexual harassment on campus is a bigger problem than previously thought. 
Students who had known about these allegations or had nearly fallen prey to lecturers themselves heaved a collective sigh of relief at the publicity this story “finally” received.
Tsepo wa Mamatu drama lecturer at WITS FINALLY in the news, exposed for rape and sexual assault!!! Front page, Sunday Times.Toxic Lex
And my Facebook is a cacophony of Varsity friends, men and women, screaming "FINALLY!" We all knew & yet none of us knew how to speak it.Marie Straub
Thanks to all the girls I know who came forward to report this shit. Brave. We all know what happened. Now they know. #TsepoWaMamatu Toxic Lex
@the_lombz And we should all be ashamed for pretending and ignoring it just to keep the peace #SELL_ITZanele Madiba
@MissMadiba nt shocked hey. He was always dodgey! His classes revolved around sex. I even took him to task once, sick man.Sarah Jackson
Meanwhile all the other predators at Wits are looking up to the sky & thanking their lucky stars that its not them dat were caught out.SMH!Nomonde_Ndwalaza
Some Dramatic Arts graduates said the rehearsal space particularly made it easier for lecturers to take advantage of students. Wa Mamatu told the Sunday Times: “what happens in a rehearsal space is private and confidential. I can’t break that confidentiality”.
@troyevillelolly Rehearsal space is sacred. Has to be. You have to be able to push boundaries. Always those who will take advantage of such.Marie Straub
I make no excuses for Wa Matu, I’m just saying the problem is bigger than one individual. The rehearsal space is one of great vulnerabilitymegan godsell
@merrystrwberry Mostly, I remember holding other terrified 20 year olds who were crying and trying to figure out ‘how far was too far’megan godsell
You had to be willing to tell your teacher ‘NO’ in the strongest terms. Repeatedly. Knowing it’d cost you a good 10% come exams.Marie Straub
‘NO’ I will not hump that chair, because that’s NOT a breathing exercise.Marie Straub
‘NO’ I will not do this monologue naked just because you’d like an extra image for your wank-bank.Marie Straub
Two former students also related personal accounts of how lecturers tried to take advantage of them, including during the rehearsal of a rape scene.
I did a piece with two classmates. Lecturer said: "That was so powerful. Now imagine if you set it in a bathroom & you 3 girls were naked."Marie Straub
We were told we were brilliant, but our unwillingness to "go all the way" would cost us marks. He was disappointed we hadn’t got naked.Marie Straub
Eventually, as a ‘fuck you’ to the lecturer, we set it in a bathroom as requested. But wore robes. Scene in no way required nudity.Marie Straub
@merrystrwberry Amen! The shy scarred 20 year old who had to kiss a girl in his class ‘for an exercise’is dancing now! #WITSsexualpredatorsmegan godsell
In my time at Wits Drama school I encountered many wonderful, honourable lecturers, male and female. These assholes were the exceptionmegan godsell
But, there is this to say. I was a student at Wits Drama. Tsepo was a few years ahead. He started as a lecturer in my final year. BUTmegan godsell
during my(and his)time as a student, there was a lecturer sexually harrassing the female students. He would pick a female student every yearmegan godsell
and focus his attention on her. A first year, every year, and in my year it was my friend. He was fired for this, eventually, quietly andmegan godsell
without any open reprimand or repercussion from the university.He is still a known and respected playwright. And the techniques practiced bymegan godsell
Tsepo are techniques this guy used all the time. So the precedent for this behaviour is set and accepted at Wits Drama School.megan godsell
@merrystrwberry I still remember the really awful abuse and harrassment on Brett Bailey’s MEDEiA. The director, also guest lecturing, usedmegan godsell
@merrystrwberry an emotional and deeply sexual script to dominate and fuck with a huge female cast and would remind us that he was gay ifmegan godsell
@merrystrwberry we complained. He once pulled a male actor out of a rape scene and put himself in with the female lead to ‘show’ how it wasmegan godsell
@merrystrwberry done. Process is process, rehearsals need to be a safe and sacred space, but just that. This Confidentiality is bullshitmegan godsell
Wa Mamatu was placed on “special leave” by the university and denied all the allegations brought forward. Some of Wa Mamatu’s friends and colleagues expressed shock at the front page news.
I’m at a loss for tweets today. Tsepo wa Mamatu is a friend of mine. I’ve not gone past that story today. Not looking forward to #TalkAtNineEusebius McKaiser
Spent today thinking about my friends, ex-colleagues & the students I taught for 7 1/2 years at Wits Drama. I’m shocked by today’s news.Theatre…and stuff.
I hope that swift action will be taken to restore the integrity of Wits Drama. My thoughts are with everyone connected to today’s news.Theatre…and stuff.
Higher ed institutions must be a safe space where students learn. This situation is sad, appalling, and embarrassing J Hornsby
Wits started a campus-wide investigation into sexual harassment on campus last year. Some said ‘naming and shaming’ remains a powerful way to combat the problem.
Screw this ‘we know these people’, shit, abuse is abuse. We need to stop protecting these preditors. Witsies must come out about Tsepo!Zanele Madiba
I urge ALL Wits drama students present and past to speak up. Please call Wits with your stories. I suspect it’s worse. Your story counts.kgomotso matsunyane
@khadijapatel glad someone was named this time around…that doesn’t happen in these type of stories.Zamantungwa Khumalo
@Margaritamojo @Witsvuvuzela What else can it do? Wits needs evidence and ppl now need to come forward.Shirona

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