Habib: Wits concerned about lecturer-student sexual relations

The Wits gender equity office has dealt with over 200 complaints ranging from sexist comments to rape this year.

FILE: Wits University vice chancellor Adam Habib. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - As the globe marks World Aids Day and the country observes 16 Days Of Activism, Wits University Vice Chancellor Adam Habib says the institution remains concerned about sexual relationships between lecturers and students, particularly after a 2013 sexual harassment scandal.

Habib was speaking at the Commission for Gender Equality which is investigating efforts by universities toward gender transformation.

The Wits gender equity office has developed an exit clause for student-lecturer relations that may be declared to the institution in the event that the relationship is long term.

Habib says the gender equity office has dealt with over 200 complaints ranging from sexist comments to rape this year

“The complaint analysis has revealed a link and we’ve been watching and confronting this in quite significant ways between alcohol, drugs and gender based crimes.”

He says the power dynamic between students and lecturers remains a challenge.

“And how power is manipulated, organized and restructured by powerful men in a variety of quarters to effectively get sexual favours.”

The commission noted that males dominate all levels of employment, making up 75% of top and senior management.

Wits has also been advised to be more clear on how issues of the LGTBI community are dealt with in relation to gender based violence.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)