Wits probes sexual harassment claims

Wits University is calling on people with information on sexual harassment to come forward.

Wits University. Picture: joburg.org.za

JOHANNESBURG - An external law firm was appointed to manage a campus-wide investigation into a sexual harassment scandal at Wits University in Johannesburg after it placed four of its staff members on special leave in April.

Wits made the announcement on Friday, following several sexual harassment allegations by students against lecturers earlier this year.

The probe was managed by law firm Bowman Gilfillan.

It was expected to be completed in May.

The university encouraged students who want to lay complaints to come forward and make submissions.

Wits' Centre for Applied Legal Studies director Bonita Mayersfeld assured victims all information would be treated as confidential.

"We are asking people to come forward to tell us what they have heard. We don't need to have actual evidence. We are trying to see patterns and trends."

Another separate independent inquiry was underway to assess existing policies and procedures which ought to be in place at the university, to prevent instances of sexual harassment.