UWC Communication: Security incidences on campus
Further to yesterday’s communication by the Executive Director for Finance and Services relating to an alleged paintball shooting of a cleaner, we would like to provide an update on subsequent events.
Firstly, as reported, a medical examination could find no signs of bruising that might have resulted from a shooting.
Secondly, the cleaner’s formal statement indicates that she felt something hit her on the neck and when she saw three security staff nearby she confronted them about who was responsible. The security staff denied responsibility.
We wish to categorically state that no violence on campus will be tolerated and we will act against anyone guilty of such violence. We condemn such acts in the strongest possible terms.
While the safety of staff and students is our primary concern, we have significantly reduced the number of security personnel since the start of the academic year. Staff and students will have observed that the minimal security personnel that remain are unarmed, and only a few have batons – there are no paintball or any other firearms used by security personnel on campus.
Unfortunately, we had several attacks on security staff on and off campus yesterday. Four security guards were attacked on campus, and subsequently laid charges of common assault and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm with the police. These attacks were purportedly carried out by students. Four people were arrested by the South African Police Services. However, it is our information that only three are registered UWC students, whilst one is an outsider with no links to the University.
As a University Executive we do not view these attacks as genuine student protest but as pure acts of criminality, and we will pursue all options at our disposal in dealing with this criminal behaviour.
It has been claimed on social media that security provoked these assaults. All the evidence we have received, including the footage we have viewed, disproves this claim. The video footage of the incidences show that the security staff acted with remarkable restraint, despite Provocation. There seems to be a concerted effort to provoke security to force them to retaliate.
A university is not a place for assault, intimidation, intolerance and hostility. We call on the University community to join us in condemning all acts of senseless violence.