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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

Council approves Transformation roadmap
2007-06-08

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) today (Friday 8 June 2007) approved a comprehensive Transformation Plan in an effort to deepen and accelerate transformation at the UFS.

According to the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Frederick Fourie, transformation projects will be undertaken in key areas of university life, such as:

  • the institutional culture of the UFS;
  • the core academic business of the university ;
  • governance and management of the institution;
  • as well as a specific focus on employment equity.

Prof. Fourie said the UFS now has a very comprehensive transformation roadmap of what must be done, when it must be done and who is responsible for implementation.

“In other words, we have a do-able plan of action”, said Prof. Fourie. He said the plan is based on the belief that the UFS should treasure diversity as a source of strength and quality.

The plan is an outcome of several consultative processes, including the work of a Transformation Plan Task Team that was specifically established to do the initial thinking and liaison with stakeholders to map out critical transformation issues.
He said the overarching objective of the plan is to establish the UFS as an excellent, non-racial, non-sexist, multicultural and multilingual university, where all staff and students can experience a sense of belonging.

Prof. Fourie said one of the top priority projects of the plan has already been achieved, namely the approval by the UFS Council of new policy guidelines to increase diversity in student residences.

The new policy guidelines were approved by the Council today (Friday 8 June 2007) and are grounded in an educational approach that is grounded in the benefits of learning and living in a diverse environment.

Other projects outlined in the Transformation Plan include among others:

  • ongoing diversity sensitisation for staff and students
  • an investigation into the possibility of a diversity module for first year students
  • a project to establish the key elements of and ways of cultivating a sense of belonging among staff and students.

In the academic terrain the plan seeks to heighten the responsiveness of the UFS as a research institution specifically with regard to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations as well as the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA), and the HIV/AIDS pandemic among others. The inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems in curricula as far as is possible will also be investigated.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
8 June 2007
 

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