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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

Investigations into incidents on the Bloemfontein Campus: 22-26 February 2016
2016-03-16

Investigations underway into incidents relating to the Varsity Cup rugby match at Xerox Shimla Park and all other criminal acts occurring during protest action

The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) commissioned a number of investigations into incidents relating to the Varsity Cup rugby match at Xerox Shimla Park on 22 February 2016, as well as into acts of criminal conduct occurring throughout the protest action in the week of 22 to 26 February 2016.

These investigations include:

1. An independent commission led by senior officials in the judiciary. The enquiry will establish the events before and leading up to the match, the tragedy on the field itself, and events immediately afterwards as the crisis spread around the campus, including the incident at Vishuis Men’s Residence the same night.
2. An inquiry about disciplinary and criminal responsibility. This includes the responsibility of students, staff where applicable, and outsiders on campus before, during and after the match, and during the protest action in the week of 22 to 26 February 2016. This will enable the university to take action for disciplinary purposes and to enable the laying of charges with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in criminal cases.
3. Led by the core team of 2006 auditors who did the first study on the transformation of the UFS, an empirical account will be provided on how far, or not, the university has come since the first comprehensive study on the subject. This report in part addresses the charge from some students or student leaders that nothing has changed or that transformation has not happened at the UFS.

The UFS Council endorsed and gave its full support to the investigations during its quarterly meeting on 11 March 2016.

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