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3 September 2019
Jesse Hess commemoration and responding to violence against women

(Published - 3 September 2019)

This week the University grieves the loss of one of our own – Jesse Hess. Ms Hess, a first-year Theology student, was murdered on Friday.

The University management has been in contact with her family and has offered support during this difficult time. She was a beautiful soul who cared dearly for her family and her community.

As Executive Management, we call on all students and staff to break away from their usual commitments from 1:30 pm to 2.30 pm tomorrow at the Main Hall, as a gesture of solidarity against the surge of violence against women. This will also serve as a commemorative event for Ms Hess.

We also urge everyone to wear black this week to highlight activism and mourn the loss of our sisters.

As a University, we endorse all campaigns on campus and across the country that condemn violence against women. We continue working closer with the South African Police Service and community policing forums in our efforts aimed at ensuring the safety of students.

While Ms Hess was murdered off campus, students are reminded to be vigilant at all times. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of all students. Campus Protection Services (CPS) is on duty 365 days of the year and provides an immediate response to all types of calls for service to emergent situations and critical incidents.

Students who may need professional and confidential counselling and psychological services for personal reasons can contact the Centre for Student Support Services (CSSS). Students can also contact the Gender Equity Unit. 

For additional support, students are also encouraged to contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). In collaboration with CSSS, SADAG provides a 24-hour toll-free counselling helpline to all UWC students. The number for this support is 0800 222 333.

More details will follow on the commemorative event for Ms Hess and other activations responding to femicide and gender based violence.