Stellenbosch University
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Update: Wilgenhof Residence
Author: Corporate Communication & Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking
Published: 14/02/2024

We are pleased to confirm that our annual welcoming period has been conducted successfully and look forward to a constructive 2024, where we can continue to build on our efforts to ensure all students have an informative, inclusive, and transformative experience when joining Stellenbosch University (SU).

To this end, and further to the earlier announcement in this regard, SU can confirm that the Rectorate has finalised the appointment of a three-member Panel to investigate the contents found in two rooms at the Wilgenhof Residence. The aim of the Rectorate in appointing the Panel is to ensure that it acts towards assisting in the realisation of the transformation of the University culture, consistent with SU’s Vision 2040.

The Terms of Reference of the Panel have been finalised and include, amongst others, the following key objectives;

To draw an understanding of the historical, cultural and symbolic dimensions of the contents and functions of the two rooms and consider this against the background of enculturation practices at Wilgenhof Residence, and to advise Rectorate accordingly.
To consider in detail the significance of the contents and functions of the two rooms within the broader institutional culture and operations of SU residences.
To assess if, and to what extent, the records, practices and general culture of Wilgenhof are inimical to the values of the University and may involve encroachment on the human dignity of current and past SU students and staff.
To establish whether unacceptable practices at Wilgenhof over time have been protected or covered up by University staff, alumni, or students.
To assess whether there is evidence of conduct in contravention of any SU policies, regulations, rules, or the Disciplinary Code for Students of SU by past and/or current student leadership and/or management of Wilgenhof.

The Panel will be chaired by senior counsel, Advocate Nick De Jager. De Jager will be assisted by Dr Derek Swemmer, the former Registrar of the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Free State; and Ms Penny van der Bank, the Deputy-Registrar for Governance at SU.

As part of the process, the University will make available to the Panel academic and professional expertise at the University to consult on various aspects related to the history, tradition, sociology, psychology and culture of SU and its residences.

Following the official appointment of the Panel, work will now commence. Further communication will follow once the Chair of the Panel had time to finalise the methodology. A report is expected to be submitted to Rectorate by the end of February 2024, or soonest thereafter if the panel requests additional time.

Click here to read the terms of reference.

Click here to read the isiXhosa.