Reconciliation vs. Punishment at a South African University

October 19, 2009

A gesture from the new leader of a South African university is sparking a new debate over an ugly incident. Jonathan Jansen, the new rector of the University of the Free State, is the first black leader of the institution, which is in an Afrikaner dominated area. AFP reported that in his inaugural speech Friday, Jansen announced that the university would drop disciplinary charges against four white students who were found to have produced a video last year in which black workers were humiliated by being given food on which students had urinated. In his speech, Jansen said that letting the students return to the university would be "a model of racial reconciliation." But the African National Congress and other groups have denounced that stance.

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