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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

Statement by the senior leadership of the University of the Free State
2016-02-29

Statement by the senior leadership of the University of the Free State regarding the situation on the Bloemfontein Campus 

All academic and administrative activities on the Bloemfontein and South Campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS) resume on Monday 29 February 2016.

In light of the recent incidents on the Bloemfontein Campus, the university leadership would like to address the understandable concerns of students, staff and the general public. The university obviously respects the rights of individuals to freedom of speech and expression, but notes that these rights are subject to reasonable limitation, and cannot extend to justifying criminal acts.

The Bloemfontein Campus is secure and security measures have been doubled up to ensure the safety of students, staff and public property. The court interdict is in place and will be enacted if required. Unlawful disruptions, including those involving criminal conduct, will not be tolerated.

The university strongly condemns the unlawful and unacceptable conduct by students, protesting outsourced workers, and visitors to its campus during the past week, and in particular the assault on protestors at Xerox Shimla Park on Monday 22 February 2016 during a Varsity Cup rugby match between the FNB Shimlas and FNB Madibaz. The university has started a comprehensive and independent investigation into criminal activities on this campus before, during and after the Xerox Shimla Park events.

The university regrets the destruction of public property and the intimidation of staff and students which led to the shutdown of academic and administrative activities on the Bloemfontein Campus. Extensive investigations are underway to identify the perpetrators who took part in all incidents of disruption and criminal conduct, and urgent steps will be taken against such individuals or organisations in due course.

The university leadership remains deeply concerned about a dangerous and damaging allegation that a lecturer was identified on a widely circulated photograph while assaulting a protestor at the Varsity Cup rugby match on Monday 22 February 2016. The university diligently investigated this allegation and found it to be false; the individual is NOT a member of the UFS staff. A suspect was however identified and evidence handed over to the South African Police Services (SAPS) for urgent action.

It has further come to the attention of the university management that a number of individuals and organisations continue to make blatantly false and defamatory statements on social media platforms with the intention of inciting criminal conduct, threatening individuals, and spreading fear within the university community in order to unsettle the campus. Investigations are at an advanced stage to prosecute individuals and groups involved in such criminal conduct in the social media; both those who post these statements and those who repost or retweet them, are liable under the law.

Should you wish to confirm whether there is any truth attached to a circulated rumour or allegation, please call +27(0)51 401 2911, +27(0)51 401 2634 or send an email to news@ufs.ac.za. Legal steps will be taken against individuals and organisations that persist in circulating such misleading and damaging statements.
    
The UFS urges all individuals who are in possession of evidence or knowledge of any crimes that have been committed on the Bloemfontein Campus in the past week, to come forward with such evidence and information and to call the numbers indicated above or to send an email to news@ufs.ac.za. Any individuals who are in possession of video footage and photographs of the incidents at Xerox Shimla Park, the Equitas Building (formerly known as the CR Swart Building), Thakaneng Bridge, various residences, the Main Building and the grounds in front of the building, are requested to provide such evidence in order to assist with the identification of those involved in criminal acts.

The university leadership remains committed to its duty to act in the best interests of its students and staff and calls on its community and the public to act peacefully at all times and respect the rights of others.

Issued by: Lacea Loader
(Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Email: news@ufs.ac.za

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