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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

New Genetics building on Bloemfontein Campus spirals into new frontiers
2015-09-11

On Thursday 3 September 2015, the Department of Genetics hosted the official opening of its new offices on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Neil Heideman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Prof Paul Grobler, Head of the Department of Genetics cut the ribbon, symbolising the opening of this building with its state-of-the-art facilities.

The new genetics building boasts a new administration block with a reception area, seven offices, a small committee room, and a seminar room for 50 people. Furthermore, the undergraduate laboratory block provides a laboratory for 150 students. The research block has facilities for 30 researchers.

This building also hosts a chemical waste sorting and storage facility. This is a first for the university.

Several sites were investigated for the new building, but due to its size and envisaged second phase, a “green fields” site was found on the western side of the campus. The main entrance caters for visitors from the north, students on foot, and those using the parking area in front of the library. The secondary south entrance is for those who use the dedicated parking area south of the building. The link between these two entrances is the spine of the building, a helix with services/buildings spaced on either side. The helix will be extended in the second phase to keep the circulation and linkage of buildings as simple as possible.

In his opening speech, Prof Grobler gave a breakdown of the history of the Department of Genetics. Today, this department, which opened its doors at the UFS in 1960, is proud of its 131 students and 46 honours students.

According to Major-General Edward Ngokha, Head of the Forensic Science Laboratory, students who graduate from the UFS in the field of genetics make excellent employees. The Forensic Science Laboratory has employed 25 honours students since the BSc Honours degree in Genetics was implemented in 2010.

“The UFS delivers education of high quality and high standards. Thank you for your contribution toward fighting crime by delivering well-prepared, committed employees,” said Major-General Ngokha.

The department presents programmes on population conservation genetics, plant molecular genetics, cytogenetics, forensic genetics, forensic science, human genetics, and behavioural genetics.

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