04 September 2019

In support of the current national movement opposing violence against women at South African universities, the following activities will take place today:

• Silent march – Bloemfontein and South Campuses:

All staff and students on the Bloemfontein and South Campuses are requested to gather in front of the Main Building on the Bloemfontein Campus at 11:00; the silent march will commence at 11:30.
 
The route is as follows:
 
The group will walk from the Main Building to the Flippie Groenewoud Building, and to the Thakaneng Bridge towards the Winkie Direko Building. From there, the group will walk past the UFS Sasol library to the Theology Building, and then to the George du Toit Building, where statements will be read.
 
Staff and students are also welcome to join the march anywhere along the route.

• Prayer Service – Qwaqwa Campus:
 
The prayer service for all staff and students will be held in the Physics-Geography Auditorium of the new Science building at 12:00.


UFS suspends all academic activities on Friday 6 September 2019


The University of the Free State (UFS), through its executive management and the Institutional Student Representative Council (SRC), today decided that all academic activities on its three campuses will be suspended on Friday 6 September 2019 as a gesture of solidarity with the current national movement opposing violence against women at South African universities.

Staff and students are encouraged to wear black tomorrow to highlight advocacy around sexual and gender-based violence.

Essential services and activities that are scheduled and cannot be postponed or cancelled, will continue. These will be communicated by the relevant faculty.

As a university, we condemn all forms of violence against women in solidarity with other institutions of higher learning in the country.

A silent march for the Bloemfontein and South Campuses will take place tomorrow at 11:00. All staff and students are requested to gather in front of the Main Building of the Bloemfontein Campus at 11:00; the silent march will commence at 11:30. 

A prayer service for staff and students will be held on the Qwaqwa Campus tomorrow at 12:00. The venue will be communicated.

Situation on the Bloemfontein Campus on 4 September 2019 (21:00)
 
This afternoon, members of the senior leadership group provided feedback on the memorandum of students protesting against gender-based violence on the University of the Free State (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus.
 
The students did not agree with the feedback and a meeting subsequently took place between members of the senior leadership group and the Bloemfontein Campus Student Representative Council (SRC). Matters discussed during this meeting and which are part of the memorandum, included: on-campus security; gender-based violence; off-campus student safety; transport – especially a free shuttle service for off-campus students; evening classes; facilities and lighting on campus.
 
Disruption of some of the activities on campus continued this afternoon, despite the continued engagement with the student leadership. The university supports peaceful protest by students or staff about matters that are of concern to them. However, the university does not support violent protests. The university also cannot allow coercive disruption of classes and other activities such as those that happened during the past two days. This kind of conduct is not only illegal, but also runs counter to the essence of what the university is.
 
Protection Services is continuing to monitor the situation closely and additional security measures are still in place. A protocol during protests document has been compiled, which provides guidance to staff and students on how to act during protests. Our staff and students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the document.

    
4 September 2019: Situation on the Bloemfontein Campus on 4 September 2019

On 3 September 2019, a group of students protested against gender-based violence on the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Bloemfontein Campus causing disruption of some university activities. A memorandum was subsequently handed to members of the senior leadership group the same afternoon.

A meeting took place between members of the senior leadership group and the Bloemfontein Campus Student Representative Council (SRC) late yesterday afternoon. The memorandum was discussed, and a list of issues were tabled. It was agreed that feedback to the student body took place today at 12:00.

The executive management is aware of the disruptions that occurred this morning despite our engagement with the student leadership. The necessary additional security measures are in place and Protection Services is monitoring the situation closely. Staff and students will be updated of any development in this regard as soon as possible today. 


3 September 2019: No Incident of rape on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus on 2 September 2019

No incident of rape took place on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) yesterday (2 September 2019). No proof of the alleged incident has been found, and no incident of this nature was reported to the university’s Protection Services or the university’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) since yesterday.

This comes after posts and comments on social media last night indicated that a rape allegedly took place in the restrooms of the Examination Centre (EXR) on campus yesterday.

What did happen yesterday, was an incident at the EXR when a student fainted while writing a test at the EXR. The student was attended to by the staff members on duty and was transported from there by ER24 to a hospital in the city to receive further medical care.

Issued by:
Lacea Loader
Spokesperson
University of the Free State
+27 83 645 2454 | loaderl@ufs.ac.za



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