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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Strong support for march against gender violence
2013-02-27

 

A huge group of students, led by the Student Representative Council, took part in the "Enough is Enough: Are you man Enough?" march on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Johan Roux
25 February 2013

   YouTube Video: "Enough is Enough" Harlem shake

   YouTube Video: "Enough is Enough" protest

Enough is enough. The UFS took a vocal and visual stand against gender violence and rape with a march joining the national protest movement. With banners reading: ‘No to rape,’ ‘Stop sexual terrorism’ and ‘Enough is enough’, hundreds of Kovsie men and women took part in the Enough is Enough: Are you man Enough march held on the Bloemfontein Campus. Led by Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, staff and students, mostly men, told the world what they think about the scourge of violence and rape in the country.

Addressing protestors, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, highlighted shocking rape statistics, saying that it is dangerous to be a woman these days with a woman raped every minute somewhere in the country. “Women can hardly breathe without being worried.Culture has deceived our young men. The country is experiencing a tragic time. We need to raise our children, mostly boys, to respect women from an early age. They must also learn how to deal with their emotions – boys must learn how to cry.”

Joining Prof Jansen on stage was the Student Representative Council (SRC) presidents of three universities in South Africa – William Clayton from the UFS, Horne Hallendorff from the University of Cape Town and Clinton du Preez from Stellenbosch University. “Enough is indeed enough and men should take their role seriously to ensure that we say NO to gender violence and rape against women,” Clinton told protestors.

At the request of the Dean of Student Affairs, all the men that were present kneeled as a sign of apology of the selfish acts of men against women.

The university will continue the fight against gender violence with a series of dialogues creating awareness, but also facilitating broader understanding of gender violence.

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