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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS policies want to help all students
2005-03-09

The death of Hannes van Rensburg, a first-year student from the JBM Hertzog residence, this past weekend, placed various aspects of student life in the spotlight.  Dr Natie Luyt, Dean:  Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS explain which policies are in place to counter these practices.

At all tertiary institutions there are rules and policies to guide students and provide direction for certain behaviour and practices.  The same applies to the University of the Free State (UFS).

“At the beginning of the year the UFS provides every residence committee with a manual to establish a framework for meaningful and orderly relations within and among residences on the campus,” said Dr Natie Luyt.

However, it is one thing to set rules, but it is an impossible task to enforce all aspects thereof.  Policies currently in place include an alcohol policy, a policy on the induction of first years and a policy on banned practices in residence orientation. 

“The alcohol policy was compiled in cooperation with students and their input was constantly asked,” said Dr Luyt.  We also liaise on a continuous basis with residences and senior students to encourage the responsible use of alcohol, especially around activities like intervarsities and Rag. 

In the policy, recognition is given to the right and voluntary and informed choice of every individual to use alcohol on the UFS campus in a responsible way. 

Guidelines for the use of alcohol on campus include among others the following: 

Only authorised points of sale will be permitted on campus.  In this case it is the various league halls in most of the male residences on campus.

Alcohol will only be made available during fixed times and is not permitted in residence rooms.    

All alcohol-related functions are regulated and an application for a temporary alcohol license must be obtained from the Dean:  Student Affairs.     

The UFS obtained a liquor license in March 2004 which must be administered by senior leagues in various residences on campus.   Normal liquor license conditions and the county’s liquor laws apply.  Liquor can only be sold to members of the senior league (or special guests) and also to persons over the age of 18 years.  Liquor may not be used in public (outside the senior league) or on campus.    

The senior leagues may only be open three nights per week and within prescribed times.  No liquor could be used in any other place than the senior league halls.  Senior leagues could buy liquor from club monies generated by themselves. 

The right of senior leagues to serve liquor was suspended by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, on Monday 7 March 2005 – pending an investigation of the recent events on campus. 

The policy on banned practices include among others that no swearing and shouting at first-years may take place, no first-year student may be targeted individually, no senior may enter the room of a first-year student without an invitation or permission from that first-year student and no senior under the influence of alcohol may have contact with first-year students. 

The induction of first-year students takes place by means of three functions, namely an information function (the introduction to the various facets and possibilities of the university system), an induction function (the first-year student becomes involved in various campus and residence activities) and a development function (the first-year student is motivated to take charge of his development potential). 

No first-year induction activity may commence before the residence committee’s contracting with the senior students is not completed.  This meeting is attended by the residence head and all senior students.  The induction policy, residence induction policy of first-year students and first-year rules are discussed.

The senior students sign an attendance list to show that he/she was informed about the policies.  A senior who does not sign, may not be involved with any induction session with first-year students.  

No physical contact is allowed during the conclusion of the first-year students’ official induction period.  The induction of first-year students as full members of the residence is a prestige event, presented by the residence committee.  No physical or degrading activities may take place. 

The Dean:  Student Affairs also has a daily meeting with the primarii of all the residences during the induction period.  This helps to monitor the situation and counter any problem behaviour or tendencies.

“Enforced behaviour – where a senior student forces a first-year student to do something against his/her own free wil – is not allowed.  Where there is any sign of this, it is met wortel en tak uitgeroei,” said Dr Luyt.

“In any group of people – whether it is a group of students or people at a workplace – there will always be those who will break the rules or those who would like to see how far they could push it.

The SRC, the UFS management and myself are and will stay committed to make each student’s life on this campus a school of learning and an experience which would be remembered for ever,” said Dr Luyt.

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