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Statement by Unisa on the derogatory tweets issued by a Unisa lecturer towards Unisa students

The University of South Africa (Unisa) re-affirms the stance it has taken on social media in relation to the tweets attributed to one of its lecturers, Professor Tracey McKay, in which she makes demeaning and derogatory remarks about students of the university. 

The university reiterates that it regards the tweets and conduct of Professor McKay as very serious, extremely offensive and inconsistent with the values and ethos of the university. It is also the university’s firm belief that the tweets by Professor McKay contain racist undertones; and may also be in contravention of university policy. 

The university has also taken serious cognisance of the outcry from the student community and other stakeholders that stringent measures need to be taken by the university in the light of these vexatious remarks; and agrees that action commensurate with the seriousness of this misconduct is necessary. 

Notwithstanding the apology already issued by Professor McKay as well as a retraction of the offensive tweets, the Principal and Vice Chancellor has directed the relevant authorities within the university to ensure that urgent action is taken against her. 

The university also wishes to correct any assumption that the Professor McKay in question is the Acting Vice Principal: Teaching, Learning, Community Engagement and Student Support, Professor Veronica Mckay. The academic in question is a lecturer in one of our colleges and not the Acting Vice Principal.  

"When we dealt with the problem of racism within our institution last year, working together with the South African Human Rights Commission, we gave a commitment that, as a university, we will confront and deal decisively with the spectre of racism whenever it rears its ugly in our midst. Incidents of this nature should therefore be confronted head-on and with the necessary urgency to avoid the further polarisation of our society and to prevent damage to the reputation of our university," said Unisa Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya.         


Publish date: 2019-11-01 00:00:00.0