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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

UFS acts fast in expelling students for serious misconduct
2014-02-22

On the evening of Monday 17 February 2014, Muzi Gwebu, a fifth-year student in BCom Economics, while walking on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS, was side-swiped by a vehicle driving recklessly through campus. He followed the vehicle where it stopped at one of the residences and approached the two occupants. A confrontation started and he was assaulted by one of the occupants of the vehicle.

Gwebu sustained minor injuries and was immediately assisted by the university’s residence life division. He lodged a complaint of assault at the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The senior leadership of the UFS is shocked and outraged at this blatant act of violence against one of its students. The Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, says: “We regard this incident in a very serious light and we worked closely with the SAPS throughout the night to identify and locate the perpetrators who were driving with false number plates.”

With the assistance of the student leadership in one of the residences, the owner of the vehicle and his companion were traced this morning.

The two students were immediately handed to SAPS by the university’s Protection Services and were arrested on charges of attempted murder, assault and driving with false number plates.

In addition to the criminal investigation by the SAPS, the university is also conducting an urgent and formal investigation into the incident.

The university has offered Gwebu full counselling and support until he is fully recovered.

“It is sad and disappointing that, after so much progress with the social transformation of the UFS, such a horrific incident could have occurred. It is pleasing, however, that across the board, all our students condemned these vicious acts. The students, if found guilty in the criminal and institutional investigations, will definitely not be allowed to study at the University of the Free State,” he said.

END

Statement by Dr Willy Nel, Residence Head of Armentum men’s residence

The Residence Head, Residence Committee and all residents of Armentum male residence on the Bloemfontein Campus unequivocally distance themselves from any behaviour which does not breathe the letter and spirit of the University of the Free State's vision of Human Embrace and Academic Excellence. We work tirelessly to upend traditions that are contradicting this vision. Therefore we add our voice to those who condemn the incident in which ex-residents allegedly assaulted a pedestrian who is also a student of our institution. We express our support to and confidence in the university's and other processes to find justice in this matter.

Dr Willy Nel
Residence Head: Armentum



Media release
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Tel: +27(0)51 401 3422
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

 

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