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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

State of our campuses: UFS Qwaqwa Campus temporarily closed until 18 April 2017
2017-04-03

The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) has decided to close the Qwaqwa Campus on Tuesday 28 March 2017 due to student protests regarding provisional registrations. Academic activities will resume on 18 April 2017. 
 
The protests were preceded by a meeting of the campus management with the Student Representative Council (SRC) on 22 March 2017 to discuss issues pertaining to students who are provisionally registered – especially those students who are provisionally registered and awaiting the outcome of their appeals to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
 
On 27 March 2017, the SRC handed a memorandum to the campus management, requesting assistance in cases that are on appeal with NSFAS. The students also demanded extension of the provisional registration deadline of 31 March 2017, and that a fundraising plan should be implemented for financially needy students. The campus management made a commitment to respond within the deadline stipulated in the memorandum.
 
After the meeting, violence erupted when a group of students started intimidating students, barricading the entrance to the campus, and damaging university property. An interdict was served by the Sheriff later the same afternoon and additional security was deployed. On 28 March 2017, the violent protests and barricades spilled onto the provincial road to Phuthaditjhaba and several cars were damaged. This led to the arrest of a number of students by members of the South African Police Service for the contravention of the High Court order and for public violence. The students have since been released.
 
Due to the imminent threat to the safety of staff and students on the campus, the senior leadership decided on 28 March 2017 to evacuate the residences and to close the campus temporarily until 18 April 2017.
             
“It is unfortunate that the students resorted to violence without waiting for the campus management’s response to the memorandum of 27 March 2017. What makes the situation difficult is the fact that students on provisional registration who are waiting for the outcome of their NSFAS appeals, are dealing directly with NSFAS. This makes it difficult for the university to intervene,” says Mr Teboho Manchu, acting Principal of the Qwaqwa Campus.
 
The senior leadership of the UFS is aware of the video clip on social media this week, where a student is allegedly beaten by security guards on the Qwaqwa Campus. The senior leadership condemns this deplorable incident. An investigation is underway to determine the nature and cause of the incident. Appropriate steps will be taken once the outcome of the investigation is available.

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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