Home South African University in talks with SRC over ‘Kovsies’ name outrage

University in talks with SRC over ‘Kovsies’ name outrage

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The University of the Free State said it had hoped that the SRC would have opted to discuss the matter internally.

The University of the Free States student representative council has called for the removal of Kovsies as the universitys nickname, saying there is a racist history associated with the name. File picture

THE UNIVERSITY of the Free State (UFS) is set to enter into discussions with the Institutional Student Representative Council over the SRC’s public outrage at the term “Kovsies”. 

In a statement issued on Monday, UFS said it had hoped that the SRC would have opted to discuss the matter internally. 

“The executive management of the University of the Free State is aware of a statement in the social media by the Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) rejecting the use of the term ‘Kovsies’. The executive is disappointed that the ISRC chose to make the statement about the use of the term in public and only afterwards directed a formal request to Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs and Community Engagement,” the statement read. 

It emerged that the SRC had taken exception to the term, which was coined when the university was still called Universiteits Kollege van die Oranje Vrystaat.

According to the SRC, the origins of the name excluded black students. 

“It is also a symbolisation and a celebration of the 1940 university that excluded black students, it is for this reason that students do not want to be called ‘Kovsies’, as the name is exclusionary and oppressive in essence. Students do not feel as belonging and welcomed in the institution because of this name,” the SRC said. 

“The university must discontinue the use of the name, in all official and non-official platforms and distance themselves from any continued use of the name as it does not reflect a real commitment to diversity, inclusivity and social justice. It is supported by the integrated transformation plan in dismantling the legacy of apartheid and colonialism and creating an institution where diverse students feel a sense of common belonging,” the SRC added. 

The SRC also said that the name should have been removed in 2001 when UFS changed its name. 

The university said they will address the matter with the SRC.