According to the Bill of Rights of the South African Constitution: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes: freedom of the press and other media; freedom to receive or impart information or ideas; freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research." This right “does not extend to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm."
My Management Team and I are aware of numerous anonymous posts on the TygerMaties Confessions Facebook page that have perpetuated a false narrative about the Faculty's undergraduate selection processes and the quality of students we admit. These remarks contain strong racist undertones. We respect the right to freedom of expression of all citizens, but strongly condemn comments that advocate hatred toward a person or a group of people based on race, as well as misleading and false statements regarding the Faculty's policies and processes.
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), in consultation with the Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching, annually determines enrolment targets that are aligned with, inter alia, the guidelines of the National Department of Higher Education and Training for the transformation of the higher education sector, and subsequent institutional enrolment planning, as well as Stellenbosch University's commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
Our undergraduate selection guidelines are structured to ensure that candidates are considered on the grounds of merit, equity and diversity. The selection guidelines are recommended by the Faculty's governance structures and the Senate, and approved by the Stellenbosch University Council. The guidelines are available here.
We unapologetically stand by these guidelines aimed at redress of historical educational inequities in South Africa and ultimately the achievement of a body of health practitioners, which reflects our country's demographic profile. Any enquiries related to the selection process of undergraduate programmes can be referred to the Selection Office in the Centre for Student Administration at Tygerberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In all of our selection categories, all students meet high admission requirements. We are, therefore, very proud of the applicants we select every year from a highly competitive applicant pool based on a very rigorous selection process. As part of our commitment to access with success, the establishment of a Recruitment and Admissions Strategic Committee is currently being established to review existing selection processes for all programmes in the Faculty, and to align these with the newly approved Admissions Policy of the university.
We encourage respectful dialogue that challenges existing practices for the betterment of the Faculty, the University and our society. However, it is important to appreciate that the use of social media as a communication channel is subject to existing SU policies and procedures, specifically the:
All students and staff are individually and collectively responsible for adherence to these policies and should take the time to read and understand them. The policies address behaviours such as misconduct, harassment and victimisation conducted online. Any form of online bullying, verbal abuse, defamation, slander and/or name-calling, is regarded just as seriously as similar behaviours expressed via traditional verbal and written communication. Kindly be reminded that any aggrieved party may report such behaviour to the Equality Unit at email@example.com, which may decide to refer the matter to Student Discipline (for students) or Human Resources (for staff) as necessary. Please note there are also a number of faculty and departmental structures available to those who wish to discuss their concerns, including our Equality Champions and Relational Coach.
Finally, allow me to draw your attention to our Faculty's core values - excellence, integrity, compassion, inclusivity, innovation and accountability – which I trust will increasingly serve as the guiding principles for our personal conduct and our relationships with others.