Rhodes lecturer accused of breaching protest interdict

Corinne Knowles is one of 70 other staff members who have called for the court order to be withdrawn.

Rhodes University students activists stand outside the magistrate court after the arrests of the five students during the anti-rape protests on 20 April 2016. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A lecturer at Rhodes University has been accused of acting against an interdict that prevents both staff and students from participating in any further protests which may disrupt its academic program.

Lectures continued yesterday after a court order was obtained to stop a series of demonstrations by students who accused management of being ineffective in their handling of rape cases on campus.

There's since been an outcry from academic staff who say the university has criminalised what they believe is a legitimate protest.

Corinne Knowles is one of 70 staff members who have signed a petition calling for the university's management and Vice Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela to withdraw the court order.

A letter from the institution's lawyers has accused her of encouraging students to disrupt classes after she said quote: "Put up your hand and ask about rape culture on campus" during an open forum yesterday.

Breaking: Corinne Knowles has been found in contravention of the #RUInterdict. #RUReferenceList pic.twitter.com/TJCvZVC5sh

Knowles, who spoke to Eyewitness News earlier today, says the interdict gives no clear indication on what would constitute a breach.

"The interdict says 'may not disrupt the academic project or lectures'. Does that mean you can't put up your hand and ask what rape culture is when your lecturer is telling you something about legal consent?"

Meanwhile, the university says it has not received the petition but will meet with staff members who have raised concerns about last week's protests.