The University of the Free State closes campuses until Friday 28 October 2016 to readjust academic programme.
The senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) has carefully analysed all the risks facing the University in the current national crisis in higher education, which includes the possibility of losing the academic year. The university management has been engaged in back-to-back meetings with the student leadership, South African Police Service (SAPS), and other stakeholders over the past two days in an attempt to ensure the safety of all parties, and normalise the academic functioning of the UFS.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to arrive at an agreement about the resumption of the academic year regardless of the timing of the government response to students’ demands. This is further complicated by the fact that the university has received notice of intention of an interdict to reopen with immediate effect.
Taking all of this into account, the senior leadership of the UFS has decided as follows:
1. The UFS will not be shutting down for the remainder of 2016. The Bloemfontein and South Campuses will, however, be shutting down from Thursday 13 October 2016 until Friday 28 October 2016. These two weeks will be used for crucial and complex arrangements to be put in place to readjust the academic calendar and ensure that all students can complete their studies.
2. The academic arrangements are focused on organising alternative modes of delivery of our programmes to support student learning. Academics will be working on readjusting their course materials for this purpose.
3. The Bloemfontein Campus and the South Campuses will be closed for undergraduate and honours students. Administrative and academic staff will be working, as well as masters and doctoral students.
4. Students in residence will have to vacate their rooms by 12:00 on Saturday 15 October 2016. Students who need help in this regard must please contact 051 401 2001 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. Arrangements will be made to accommodate international, masters, and doctoral students.
6. The specific information about academic programmes will be communicated to students by their respective faculties as it becomes available.
The senior leadership wants to restate its commitment to free education as well as its willingness to stand together with students and other public universities to impress on government the urgency to decide on a time frame for the roll-out of free higher education for the poor and missing middle. During these two weeks the UFS will meet with the leadership of Universities South Africa to coordinate collective action in this regard.
Consistent with this commitment the UFS leadership will roll out a series of activities to inform and educate students and the general public on different models and experiences of providing free higher education. The UFS is deeply concerned about the possible securitisation of our campus as a way of solving this crisis.
The UFS condemns in the strongest terms violence as a methodology to achieve ends in the context of a democratic state.
We are, as always, committed to providing quality education and a conducive environment for learning.
Source: UFS Facebook Account