In a statement issued on 24 July, ADPWG acknowledged that there is a need to build a more “inclusive, transformed and reflexive institution,” given UP’s history which they described as “complex and laden”.
Historically, the institution has excluded different groups of people in policy making. This discrimination was based on race, gender, sexuality, ability and class among other things. Furthermore, the ADPWG realises that discrimination often happens to people who “embody a number of overlapping and intersectional identities”.
Monique Hlatshwayo, chairperson of UP & Out, welcomes the drafting of the anti-discrimination policy as she says people of the LGBTIQA+ community are often vulnerable to physical and verbal attacks on campus. Hlatshwayo hopes that in the policy, victims will be protected. “I know of students who feel uncomfortable using the bathrooms,” Hlatshwayo added, calling for a need of gender neutral bathrooms on campus which non-binary people can use at ease.
According to the ADPWG’s statement, they hope to “address all forms of discrimination at UP and their intersections, and allow for redress that is just, fair and transparent”.
The ADPWG will host an “Anti-Discrimination week” between 28 August and 1 September which will include public lectures, seminars and exhibitions focusing on the need for establishing a university environment that is free of discrimination and does not tolerate any forms of it.
During this period, specifically on 31 August, the ADWG will meet with the various UP stakeholders which then, face-to-face, will deliberate on questions of discrimination and redress them.
The statement added that “a drafting committee will then develop a policy for discussion and amendment, after which it will be adopted as the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy”.
Image: Kay O’Brien