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Rhodes University Receives Backlash For Banning Student For Life

rhodes

The EFF has threatened Rhodes University for banning a student who was behind an online campaign to name and shame students accused of sexual assault on campus. The University then felt the need to set the record straight as this situation gains more and more attention.

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The EFF has now stepped in with the case of Yolanda Dyantyi, ex-Rhodes student who was banned for life. Dyantyi was behind an online campaign which named and shamed individuals accused of sexual assault on campus. Now, Rhodes University wants to set the record straight and has said that they are concerned by the EFF's threat to unleash anger against them.

After being found guilty in March 2017 of heading this campaign, she was also found guilty of acts such as kidnapping other students, defamation, insubordination and assault. This then lead to her being banned from Rhodes University for life. 

On 11 September, Dyantyi said on social media that proceedings have ended and "Deputy Judge President says Judgement in the matter of Rhodes & Dyantyi will be ready next week Thursday 17 September 2020".

The University has said that Dyantyi is not being excluded because of her involvement in the protests against gender based violence but rather because she was found guilty "of a range of unlawful acts including the kidnapping of fellow students, insubordination, assault and defamation. Added to that, was the fact that she had two previous records of violent and disorderly disciplinary infractions," said the University.

The EFF then released a statement which said that the “University tribunal accepted untested evidence of university witnesses against her. She was never given the opportunity to cross-examine her accusers and rigorously test their evidence.”

To this, Rhodes responded with saying that the court dismissed similar claims made by Dyantyi and that she indeed was represented by a highly esteemed team of four legal practitioners. The University also said, "Towards the conclusion of the hearing, during October 2017, the applicant and her legal team decided to no longer engage in the disciplinary hearing. This, the Court found, was unreasonable."

Rhodes has stated, "The University will not be engaging on this matter until the judgement is finalised." They have said that they don't usually deal with these kinds of issues publicly but that, "We have had to do this, since last year December, because this [matter of the exclusion of the students] has been brought to the public domain [via various external communication platforms] and misrepresented in a very bad way".

Some individuals on social media even went as far as showing their support in the form of opening a fund for Dyantyi which is open for donations. 

Dyantyi is now self-employed and labels herself as a digital campaigner, public speaker and also heads her registered Anti-Gender Based Violence NPO, The Archive: Ambali Wethu.

Rhodes concluded a statement by saying, "The necessary activism against gender-based violence cannot be used as a cover to operate outside of the Constitution and to violate the rights of other citizens."

Read our previous article on the case here

Read the full statement from Rhodes University here

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