UFS 'committed to diversity'

2008-02-21 19:25

Bloemfontein - The University of the Free State (UFS) remained committed to its policy of increasing diversity in campus residences, despite rioting on the Bloemfontein campus, it said on Thursday.

Police arrested 10 students on various charges after about 400 students took part in a "disruptive march" on Wednesday night, Free State police said.

UFS spokesperson Anton Fisher said management was committed to engaging with students on the matter of diversity.

"In fact, several meetings have taken place over the past few weeks with the Student Representative Council (SRC) about student issues," he said in a statement.

Fisher said the management was "extremely concerned" about the actions of some of the students who had committed public violence and damaged property on Wednesday night.

"We are concerned about what appears to be an orchestrated campaign to frustrate the implementation of the new residence policy on diversity."

He said the university wanted to ensure a safe campus for staff and students and would take the necessary legal steps to avoid a repeat of the incidents.

On Thursday, normal academic and other activities were continuing and have not been disrupted.

Fisher said management noted the contents of a memorandum that was handed to them regarding integration at student residences.

House committee members from most of the campus residences had handed the memorandum to management and have been camping in front of the main building in protest.

Fisher urged student leaders to follow the established channels to address their concerns.

"These channels have been successful in the past in addressing student concerns and we see no reason why they cannot succeed in the current situation."

Fischer said a meeting with student leaders would soon be held.

"However, we want to reiterate that criminal behaviour and misconduct will not be tolerated," he said.