Racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of arbitrary and unfair discrimination erode the fabric of democracy and are contrary to the concept of a university. They have no place here, or at any campus in the country.
In responding to recent events at the University of the Free State, we need to ask ourselves some searching questions, and to establish an environment of trust and respect that allows us to answer openly and honestly:
- Could what happened in Bloemfontein happen here at UCT? Has it or something like happened before? Is such discrimination happening now?
- How are the prejudices of race compounded by discrimination by class? Is it because we are such a profoundly unequal society that those who enjoy great privilege vent their frustration and anger on the workers who provide the very services that enable such privilege?
- How are discriminatory stereotypes internalized to the degree that they drive students at a university – selected for higher education by measure of their intelligence – to a level of animal brutality?
- Why has the UFS video become an instant metaphor for the state of the nation? Why have the metaphors of hope that characterized the early 1990s given way to metaphors of despair? How can we turn the politics of representation to advantage – to a reaffirmation of the constitutional values of human rights?
- How do we spread