UCT vice-chancellor withdraws ‘insensitive’ comment over rape allegations

University of Cape Town (UCT) vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng has apologised for questioning a student who complained that she was raped on campus.

Last week, social media users criticised Phakeng after she questioned the motive behind the accusation after the student, whose Twitter handle is [email protected], posted that she was raped allegedly by a professor of the institution.

Phakeng tweeted at the time that the student “must say what her real agenda is” and claimed that the student had refused help from the university.

The vice-chancellor has since made a sharp U-turn, saying she has taken time to reflect on her response to the student’s post.

“I fully understand the anger that followed my comment and I believe it was justified because our country continues to battle the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. Without context, my comment was insensitive, to say the least,” she wrote, adding that she withdraws her tweet.

Phakeng added that she would continue to do all she could to make sure that all students at UCT are safe, and assured the university’s community and parents that there is no place for “despicable, offensive and violent conduct against women” at her institution.

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