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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

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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