The recent publication of research done by Stellenbosch University in an international scientific journal in an article, Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in Colored South African women begs for the interrogation of the relationship between the RBBF and SU.
Apart from the very eloquent and academically sound criticism in the public space, it seemed as if SU was initially absent in response. Its first official response on 26 April in the form of a media statement was, however, very disappointing. These dehumanising and humiliating findings of a designated population group, particularly women, merely expressed concern about pain and anger the article has solicited. It does not own the pain and anger. It seems to be the pain and anger of “the other”.
The statement has no opinion on the article, the broader research project, and its leaders and even the ethics committee responsible.
After so much damage done to the reputation of SU, a follow-up apology was published on 30 April on the SU website. Although it seems like a long interval between the two, the outcome after discussions and various submissions and suggestions led to this second response. This unconditional and unreserved apology goes a long way to make all feel included in an SU opinion, not as “the other”. The request from the Rectorate for “a thorough investigation into all aspects of this study” is sorely appreciated. I sincerely hope that all does in fact mean all. I hope the why, who, what and how of the entire chain of this research publication is part of the all.
As an expression of the legacy of Russel Botman, the RBBF wishes to state that this Fund does not ever consider race or population grouping, under no circumstances. We only consider financially needy students who are academically deserving with evidence of proven community involvement and leadership, South African citizenship and exceptional perseverance and success achieved.
The RBBF Committee disassociates itself from any discriminatory stereotyping, including and especially in the name of research, at SU or elsewhere in the world.