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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 welcomes unanimous judgement about its Language Policy in the Supreme Court of Appeal
2017-03-28

The University of the Free State (UFS) is pleased with the unanimous judgment handed down in the Supreme Court of Appeal this morning, in which the application from AfriForum and Solidarity to review and set aside the decision by the UFS Council to adopt a new Language Policy was dismissed.
 
The court accordingly directed that AfriForum and Solidarity pay the legal costs of the UFS, which include the costs of two Counsel. This is the second time that the two applicants were ordered to pay the university’s legal costs.
 
The UFS further welcomes the decision by the Full Bench that the Free State High Court made a mistake last year by indicating that the UFS Council made an irrational decision when it approved the new Language Policy on 11 March 2016.
 
“Today’s decision is a milestone in the history of the University of the Free State and underlines the importance of the decision made by the Council last year. The decision comes with a responsibility, as we now have to ensure that all our students can become part of the global community of scholars by providing them with the necessary support. We also have to make our staff and students understand the implication of the court’s decision,” said Prof Nicky Morgan, acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.
 
The effect of today’s judgment is that the UFS may proceed to implement the new Language Policy according to its Implementation Plan. The new policy entails English as primary medium of instruction, but with the introduction of a tutorial system in Afrikaans and progressively in Sesotho to support students’ learning in their first and second year of study.
 
The policy has been piloted since January 2017 with first-year students in three faculties: Law, Health Sciences, and the Humanities. In these faculties, the majority of students indicated their preference to be taught in English. The Afrikaans-English policy will be maintained in the rest of the faculties in 2017 and phased out according to an implementation plan as from 2018.
 
Current registered students are able to complete their studies in the language they selected upon registration.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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