Statement on verdict reached for students who disrupted 2012 concert at Wits

STATEMENT FROM THE VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, today announced that a verdict has been reached in a case which saw 11 students charged for the disruption of a concert by musician Yossi Reshef on its campus last year.

Ten students have been found guilty of misconduct for disrupting or inciting others to disrupt the piano recital. They have been excluded from the University for a period of one year. The sentence is suspended provided that the students are not found guilty of any other form of misconduct for a period of two years. These students will not be allowed to hold any office in any student governance structure for a period of one year. In addition, they will each have to perform 80 hours of community service, as determined by the University.

One of these students has further been found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction issued by a University employee, and will be required to perform an additional 50 hours of community service for this offence.

The verdict was handed to the University by an independent advocate today, Friday, 17 January 2014. The Senior Counsel was appointed in terms of the University’s Rules for Student Discipline to act in lieu of a Student Discipline Committee, to chair the disciplinary hearing, to carry out all of its functions and to exercise all its powers in line with the University’s policies, procedures and processes.

Wits is renowned for encouraging freedom of expression, dialogue and debate on often diverse and conflicting views confronting society, provided that it does not exceed the limitations explicated in our Constitution. The University provides a platform for different constituencies to express their views and opinions through considered debate and intellectual engagement in the spirit of tolerance, respect and openness.

The diversity of people, programmes and ideas at Wits leads to the richness and robustness of the institution. This is indeed one of the greatest qualities of excellent higher education institutions, and one which Wits cherishes.

Professor Adam Habib

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

 17 January 2014