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SAAPS Statement on Sexual Harassment

The South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) Executive would like to make the following statement on behalf of the members of SAAPS and the Political Science community of South Africa

SAAPS has with regret taken note of the dismissal of Prof Rupert Taylor for sexual harassment from the Political Studies Department at Wits University. SAAPS distances itself unequivocally from any form of sexual harassment and in no way condones such behaviour.

Sexual harassment contributes to gender inequality and gender injustice, especially when a lecturer is in a position of power over a student. SAAPS urges political scientists at all tertiary and research institutions to make sure that they are familiar with the sexual harassment policies of their institutions and that they will refrain from getting involved in behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment.

The SAAPS Gender Caucus also wants to express its concern over the spate of sexual harassment incidences at tertiary institutions in the last couple of months. It is an indictment that sexual harassment is not taken seriously and a call for tertiary institutions to take time to reflect on their institutional cultures that make such behaviour possible. Where no policies to curb sexual harassment are in place such policies should be developed and enforced. There is no better time than the present.