Update: The dismissed researcher is Fethi Ahmed, head of the School of Geography, Archaeology, and Environmental Studies. And here is more on the South African context for this development, only the latest in a line of academics who have been either dismissed or sanctioned by Wits.
From: Shirona Patel on behalf of VCO News
Sent: Tuesday, April 23 ______________
To: VCO News
Subject: SENIOR STAFF MEMBER DISMISSED FOR GENDER-BASED BULLYING
MESSAGE FROM THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAMDear ColleaguesThis communique serves to inform you of the dismissal of a senior member of the University’s academic staff whose contract of employment with the University was terminated
after a number of complaints of gender-based bullying against him were confirmed.Gender-based bullying can be described as a systemic form of harm or discrimination that includes aggression, belittling, verbal intimidation, or maltreatment directed at someone on the basis of their gender identity and/or expression.In this particular case, complaints of gender-based bullying were laid against the individual by several female academic and administrative staff members. The matter was investigated by the Gender Equity Office and referred to a Hearing Panel that confirmed the complaints against the individual in question. The individual subsequently lodged an application to appeal the finding and review the process followed by the Hearing Panel. The appeal and review application was then considered by a panel comprising of two former Constitutional Court judges. The jurists found no reason to overturn the Hearing Panel’s finding and recommendation that the individual’s contract of employment be terminated. They deemed the sanction appropriate given the gravity, systematic and protracted nature of the misconduct.The Senior Executive Team would like to reiterate that it is striving to create an environment in which every member of the University community is fairly treated and respected, in which all members feel comfortable and free from any form of discrimination, and in which our community lives the values espoused in our Constitution.We reiterate that no form of gender-based harm is acceptable and we encourage all members of staff and students to familiarise themselves with the University’s values and policies in this regard. These are available on the Gender Equity Office’s website.