FS University hit by second initiation video

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pretoria - The University of the Free State (UFS) has been hit by a second initiation video, days after four former students dubbed the "Reitz Four" were each sentenced to a R20 000 fine or twelve months imprisonment.

The new video shows four white students being humiliated in an initiation-type practice at the Villa Bravado men's residence which is mainly occupied by black students.

In the initiation practice filmed between September and October last year, the four are made to stand on one leg and say something out of earshot, and later crawl around in the water on the floor in front of other students.

UFS Dean of Student Affairs, Rudi Buys said earlier this year, the management was informed about the events by students who had also been involved in the initiation practices and as management they took note of that with great dismay.

He said the events took place despite the comprehensive amount of support and assistance regarding transformation which is continuously provided to students in residences.

Buys said the university clearly and regularly communicates to students that initiation is strictly forbidden.

After the management had been informed of the matter, Buys said the Student Head of the residence was immediately suspended from the Residence Committee Members (RCM).

He said disciplinary proceedings were immediately instituted against the Residence Head for his alleged involvement in the forbidden practices and the case is currently under investigation.

However, the UFS is convinced that the event was not an incident where black students acted against white students, because black members of the RCM had undergone the same initiation exercise earlier.

"The misconduct was a continuation of a forbidden initiation practice that is not allowed at the UFS," he said.

Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, said: "I expect that these events, which took place last year, were the last of students exercising forbidden initiation practices and once again I strongly wish to express the loathing that my management and myself have for any form of forbidden initiation practice."

On Friday, the "Reitz Four" were found guilty by the Bloemfontein Magistrate Court of Crimean injuria after they made a humiliating video involving four black university workers at the Reitz Men's hostel.