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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 releases draft charter to accelerate transformation
2007-02-02

The University of the Free State (UFS) today released a draft Institutional Charter which is intended to enhance and accelerate the ongoing transformation of the institution towards a non-racial, non-sexist future.

Speaking at the official opening of the university today, the Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, said the draft Institutional Charter, was an important milestone in the transformation debate for the university and the country.

“The draft charter acknowledges that black people, women and people with disabilities have been marginalised from job and developmental opportunities, within the higher education sector and at this university,” Prof Fourie said.

The charter commits the university to meeting the challenges of a transforming higher education institution in a developing society, in particular the challenges of nation-building, reconciliation, redress, non-racialism and non-sexism – and ultimately normalisation – within a high-quality academic institution.

The principles of the draft charter firmly signal the university’s commitment to diversity – attaining and maintaining substantive and sufficient diversity (including multiculturalism and multilingualism) – in its quest for quality and excellence. 
Prof Fourie said the draft charter seeks to build consensus among staff and students at the UFS about the ultimate goals of transformation at a higher education institution.

The charter proposes several basic values and principles that should guide the transformation process and at the same time serve as a basis for a future, normalised university - a promised land to transform towards.

The discussion document says academic quality is intrinsically linked to transformation and it commits the university to strengthening the core competencies of research, teaching and learning as well as community service so as to ensure a robust university for future generations.

“Indeed the thousands of matriculants, black and white, who apply to study at the UFS want to study at a good university, and a good university wants to attract the best black and white students and the best black and white staff, male and female,“ Prof Fourie said.

He said the draft charter also seeks to safeguard academic freedom and institutional autonomy as the foundation of critical inquiry and scholarship.

Regarding the critical issue of creating a new institutional culture, the draft charter commits the UFS to creating a sense of belonging for all members of the university – black and white, male and female, of whatever language, religious, cultural or economic background, as well as people with disabilities.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl@mail.uovs.ac.za
02 February 2007

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