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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

Renowned forensic scientist speaks at the UFS
2014-04-02


Forensic science is about the truth. At the presentation delivered by Dr David Klatzow, were, from the left: Tinus Viljoen, lecturer in Forensic Genetics, Dr Klatzow and Laura Heathfield, also a lecturer in Forensic Genetics.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs 

It is necessary for more research to be done in the field of forensic science in South Africa. This is according to Dr David Klatzow, well-known forensic scientist, during a lecture delivered at the University of the Free State (UFS) last week.

The university is offering, for the first time this year, a BSc degree in Forensic Science in the Department of Genetics. This three-year degree is, among others, directed at people working for the South African Police Service on crime scenes and on criminal cases in forensic laboratories. Students can also study up to PhD level, specialising in various forensic fields.

There is no accredited forensic laboratory in South Africa. “It is time to look differently at forensic science, and to deliver research papers on the subject. In light of the manner in which science is applied, we have to look differently at everything,” Dr Klatzow said.

Dr Klatzow praised the university for its chemistry-based course. “Chemistry is a strong basis for forensic science,” he said.

A paradigm shift in terms of forensic science is needed. Micro scratches on bullets, fingerprints, DNA, bite marks – all of these are forensic evidence that in the past led to people being wrongfully hanged. This evidence is not necessarily the alpha and omega of forensic science today. DNA, which seems to be the golden rule, can produce problems in itself. Because a person leaves DNA in his fingerprint, it is possible that DNA is transferred from one crime scene to another by forensic experts dusting for fingerprints. According to Dr Klatzow, this is only one of the problems that could be experienced with DNA evidence.

“No single set of forensic evidence is 100% effective or without problems. Rather approach the crime scene through a combination of evidence, by collecting fingerprints, DNA, etc. It is also very important to look at the context in which the events happened.

“A person sees what he expects to see. This causes huge problems in terms of forensic science. For example, if a criminal fits the profile of the perpetrator, it doesn’t follow that this specific criminal is the culprit. It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that isn’t so,” Dr Klatzow said.

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