A college student in South Africa has been removed as acting president of her student council after she posted a comment on her personal Facebook page expressing disapproval over the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on “gay marriage.”
Zizipho Pae, who had been serving as acting president of the University of Cape Town’s Student Representative Council (SRC) while elected President Ramabina Mahapa was on leave, is now under investigation over her comment on her Facebook page.
“We are institutionalizing and normalizing sin! Sin. May God have mercy on us,” she wrote earlier this month.
Pae said that after she posted the status, those who disagreed began threatening her and posting homosexual pornography on her page. She states that her office was also vandalized, as the Scriptures she had displayed in the room were torn down and replaced with signs that read “Get out of here.”
SRC soon voted to replace Pae as acting president, stating that it supports the “rights of minorities and specifically the gay community.”
While a petition was soon circulated demanding her reinstatement, university officials were quick to note that the student was not ousted from the SRC, but rather only removed from her role as acting president.
“Ms. Pae was serving as the Acting SRC President (of the Vacation Committee) and has been removed only from this acting position; she has not been suspended from her elected position on the SRC‚” Manager of Media and Communication, Patricia Lucas‚ told reporters.
However, she confirmed that an investigation is being conducted surrounding Pae’s statement.
“The SRC has announced that it is busy conducting an investigation into the Facebook post and SRC members are hoping to conclude this as soon as they are all back in office‚” Lucas stated.
Professor Francis Petersen, Acting Vice-Chancellor, likewise affirmed that Pae’s comments as Acting President are being weighed against the school’s support for homosexual students.
“UCT upholds the right of each individual to exercise freedom of speech and to voice their own opinions in a responsible manner,” he said. “This right, as well as the right to freedom of religion and the human rights of LGBTQI+ people, are constitutional rights.”
“The challenge ahead is for the SRC to consider the controversial Facebook post and the extent to which the role of an elected SRC office bearer ought to balance the expression of personal beliefs with the constitutional rights of the students who are represented by the SRC,” Petersen continued. “It has been UCT’s institutional position for many years‚ for example‚ to recognize the rights of gay people to marry and to enjoy the civil and social privileges that married people enjoy.”
Although some have called for Pae to apologize for her remarks, she has refused to do so.
“Being an SRC member in my view does not mean that you need to abandon your Christian convictions and your faith,” she told the Family Policy Institute in an interview. “Christ in my life comes before all political positions or political thoughts, so I definitely won’t be retracting what I said.”