UFS closes all 3 campuses

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Bloemfontein - The University of the Free State closed down all three of its campuses on Wednesday as universities across the country protested against tuition fee increases.

"This means that academic activities on undergraduate level will not take place and administrative services will be unavailable on the Bloemfontein, Qwaqwa and South Campuses," the UFS said in a statement on its website.

"However, essential services such as IT, protection services, laboratories that cannot be left unattended, and the switchboard will be available."

UFS management and the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC) met on the Bloemfontein campus on Tuesday to discuss next year's fee increases.

"The South African Police Services (SAPS) dispersed these students and the university’s protection services is in control of the situation on campus.

"All residences are being monitored and we are ensuring that all students on campus are safe."

Management was still engaging with the CSRC to find a response to students' demands.

Last week, the UFS announced that it was waiving the 2016 application fees for prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Vice-Chancellor and Rector Prof Jonathan Jansen said the UFS wanted to set an example and challenge all public universities to scrap the application fee, so that many more young people from poor communities could attend university.

"Universities charge application fees that vary in amount," he said in a statement.

"With 25 universities in South Africa, this fee becomes a burden for students who want to apply to more than one university. The university leadership has also realised that tens of thousands of students who qualify for university entrance stumble at the first hurdle: finding the money to apply."

Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/UFS-closes-all-3-campuses-20151021