UFS Students Wants University To Do Better

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Students at the University of the Free State had #UFSMustFall trending. This comes from students feeling neglected and unsupported by the institution. UFS has responded. 

#UFSMustFall was trending on social media this week. Students at the University of the Free State (UFS) want the University to provide for them as they feel neglected, especially during this pandemic and the consequential move to online learning. 

Some students have said that they haven't received data to grant them access to online learning and have also said, "no learning at UFS, we're simply chasing deadlines". 

Students have called the University "corrupt" and "greedy" and that the University is not providing for the poor and vulnerable, making students feel as though they are the last priority. UFS was aware of the trending topic and said that the statements made were "false and inaccurate" and that they have spent a lot of time and given a lot of resources to support students. 

UFS stated, "Since March 2020, the university has undertaken extensive measures to support its students after classes were suspended and to ensure the continuation of the academic programme."

On their Facebook page, UFS stated the following:

Statements on Twitter include a number of inaccuracies, which the university wants to correct:

  • The Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) was not suspended by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen. In fact, the university management regularly meets with the ISRC on matters of concern to them. Student representatives also serve on a number of institutional committees – both before and during the national lockdown.
  • No deregistration of any students has taken place.
  • Since the end of April 2020, structured and managed data was provided to students to obtain access to academic content as well as to the academic platforms for free. However, to access this free data, students need to download the GlobalProtect app – this was communicated numerously and explained to students. The university’s ICT Services will provide video and technical guides to all students to assist them with downloading the app.
  • As of June 2020, all allowances for which students qualify and which are approved by NSFAS, have been paid by the university.
  • Although online learning provides a solution to continue with programme delivery, the university is deeply aware of the fact that access may be a barrier – especially during these extraordinary times. To assist vulnerable students, a total of 3 500 laptops have been procured by the UFS, enabling the university to assist eligible students in accessing the online platforms, obtaining learning material, and engaging with lecturers. The university is in the process of distributing the laptops to students who qualify. The Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation’s process to provide laptops to students is separate from the 3 500 laptops procured by the UFS.

This trending topic on social media is one of many that have seen students demand more support from Universities. It started with #UnivenMustFall then there came #TUTMustFall and #VUTMustFall and now UFS students have followed. 

 

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