SRC urges UFS to ditch 'racist' Kovsie nickname
In a letter to the university’s Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement Professor Puleng LenkaBula, the SRC said that the nickname did not reflect the university’s real commitment to diversity, inclusivity and social justice.
SRC president Katleho Lechoo told The Star on Sunday that the removal of last Free State president Martinus Theunis (MT) Steyn’s statue from the Bloemfontein campus set the precedent for the SRC’s call for the university to discontinue the use of “Kovsie”.
The university was established in 1904 as Grey College and in the 1940s the name was changed to Universiteits Kollege van die Oranje Vrystaat. The university became known as UKOVS, which led to the nickname Kovsie.
"Not only is continuing to call the University Kosvie the same as the country using an Apartheid flag in a post 1994 society but is also a symbolisation and celebration of the 1940 university that excluded black students and it for this reason that students do not want to be called Kosvies as the name is exclusionary and oppressive in essence.
"Students do not feel as belonging and welcome to the institution because of that name.
“It was during the use of this name that the university practised racial discrimination with blacks, coloured and Indian students not welcomed ” the SRC’s policy and transformation officer Kamohelo Thakheli said in the letter.