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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

Situation on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus under control after further disruptions
2016-02-23

State of our campuses #8

Further disruptions occurred on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS today after clashes between students on the campus last night. Members of the Public Order Policing had to disperse some students and the situation was stabilised in the early hours of the morning. No one was arrested and no major injuries occurred.

The clashes erupted last night after a group of protesters moved on to the field and disrupted a Varsity Cup rugby match that was already under way between the FNB Shimlas and the FNB Madibaz at Xerox Shimla Park. Subsequently the protesters were assaulted by some spectators who also ran on to the field.

Disruption continued this morning when students damaged some university property. Additional reinforcements from the South African Police Service were brought in to stabilise the campus. Some outsourced contract workers and students are still demonstrating outside the Main Gate of the campus on Nelson Mandela Avenue. The campus is relatively calm now and matters are under control.
The safety of students in residences on campus is the major concern for the senior leadership of the university and extra care is being taken to ensure their safety. In one case a residence had to be vacated and alternative accommodation was arranged for the students. The situation is under control in other residences. 

The Bloemfontein and South Campuses are closed from 23 to 24 February 2016 and no academic and administrative services are available.

Members of the university’s Protection Services and the South African Police Service are on the Bloemfontein Campus and are monitoring the situation closely.

A comprehensive investigation about the course of events that took place on the Bloemfontein Campus since yesterday morning continues.

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