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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

UFS to get transformation plan for African context
2005-02-04

The University of the Free State is to draft a comprehensive Transformation Plan to give impetus to the process of making the UFS an inclusive, non-racial, non-sexist, multi-cultural and multi-lingual university within the African context.

Delivering a keynote speech at the Official Opening of the UFS today, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, said the Transformation Plan would include aspects such as employment equity, institutional culture, academic excellence, and other elements.

He added that another aspect to be considered in the academic element of the Transformation Plan was the issue of the African context, of a university for Africa, in Africa, of the African university.

According to Prof Fourie, the best way of understanding the role of the UFS in Africa and for Africa, is for the university to become a truly engaged university that bridges the gap between the institution and the community. He said the UFS had for more than 10 years been at the forefront of transformation in higher education, and had gone through several phases of transformation. However the UFS needed to embark on a new phase of transformation which would be guided by a comprehensive Transformation Plan.

The Transformation Plan would be the result of an inclusive consultation process involving staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders. It would also be based on a review of current policies and practices.
The process would be led by a Transformation Plan Team, co-ordinated by the Vice-Rector: Academic Operations, Prof Teuns Verschoor, and the Vice-Rector: Student Affairs, Dr Ezekiel Moraka.

“Obviously we should also not underestimate the complexities of transformation and of building a new society, given our complex history and the legacies of poverty, underdevelopment, colonialism and apartheid.

“We must consider support for staff involved in these transformation steps, including appropriate staff development, capacity to support transformation processes, as well as flexible and supportive administrative practices,” Prof Fourie said.

He said the UFS management understood the urgency of transformation in the current democratic South Africa and the changing global environment and appealed to staff and students to participate fully in drafting the Transformation Plan for the UFS.

“Transformation at the UFS has been and will continue to be a process with many facets that seek to enhance excellence in all spheres of university life, and is much more than merely ensuring employment equity,” he said.

Prof Fourie said: “We have reached a historic moment in the life of the UFS where innovative thinking and bold steps yet again are necessary because failure is not an option.”

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
4 February 2005

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