17 MAY 2018
EQUAL EDUCATION CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS REGARDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND RELATED MISCONDUCT
Equal Education (EE) is aware of statements made on social media, of personal experiences and other expressions of concern, regarding both current and past instances of sexual harassment and related misconduct by persons associated with EE.
We thank everyone who has shared their concerns. We take them seriously, and encourage any person willing to come forward and share information about these matters with the independent investigation panel established by EE, to do so as soon as possible. Submissions can include, but will not be limited to formal testimonies, anonymous tip-offs, and suggestions for areas of further investigation. Anyone wanting to make a submission may contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We acknowledge that the concerns being raised include several about past investigations into misconduct of leaders at EE. We appeal to people with information about these matters to come forward. We are committed to ensuring that any injustices committed by those associated with EE are investigated properly, and that people are held accountable for their actions.
Submissions made to the independent panel will be accessible only to its members – Mercia Andrews, Madoda Cuphe, Clare Ballard, and the panel secretary Honjiswa Raba*. We have confidence in the integrity of the panel, and in their capacity to lead this process sensitively and proactively. In particular, we are collectively committed to ensuring that the identities of those making submissions will remain confidential.
As detailed in our public statement of 14 May 2018, the independent panel referred to above will focus on concluding the investigation into EE’s former General Secretary – while also being empowered to refer any other matter arising for further investigation, exploration, or attention, as part of a broader inquiry into sexual harassment and abuse of power. The scope of this broader inquiry includes, but is not limited to: EE’s handling of prior cases of sexual harassment and related misconduct; EE’s policies and procedures in regard to sexual harassment; and the organisational norms and culture which currently exists at EE.
The terms of reference for this broader process and identification of persons to be involved, is still being undertaken by EE’s National Council. EE’s Senior Management Team has already initiated an internal consultation process that will be incorporated into the broader inquiry described above.
We emphasise the importance of these processes, our need to approach them with care and integrity, and the time that must be taken to ensure that they are thorough and meaningful.
As a movement committed to social justice, we are determined to identify and address any factors which may enable the abuse of power, particularly sexual harassment. We are determined to work hard to remedy this – to build a safe, welcoming movement.
We would be failing in our duty toward the women who have confided in us, if we did not pause to plead that there not be speculation regarding their identities. That the details of their complaints have been published in news articles is insensitive and causes great anxiety. It has taken immense courage for the women to come forward, and to be prepared to testify before the independent panel. We must not lose sight of their needs and the potential to discourage other women from coming forward in our determination to expose wrongdoing.
EQUAL EDUCATION NATIONAL COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON
*Honjiswa Raba, the current EE Human Resources Manager has been appointed as the administrative secretary who will assist the panel in only administrative tasks. She is bound to written confidentiality and discretion agreements. For the purposes of her administrative work in this regard she reports directly to the panel, and not to the management team nor to the leadership of EE.