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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

New schools, restructuring part of streamlined Faculty of Health Sciences
2017-10-12

 Description: Health Sciences staff 2 Tags: Faculty of Health Sciences, five-school structure, Prof Gert van Zyl, Pathology, Biomedical Sciences  

From the left, front are: Dr Jocelyn Naicker,
Prof Gert van Zyl, Prof Magda Mulder;
back from left: Prof Chris Viljoen,
Marlene Viljoen, Deputy Director: Faculty of Health Sciences;
Prof Nathaniel Mofolo; and Prof Santie van Vuuren.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin


Numerous developments, such as the creation of two new schools and one newly restructured School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), will catapult this renowned faculty to even greater heights.

Five-school structure to increase access
 
A five-school structure was proposed at the annual Faculty Management retreat in July 2016. The previous three-school model included the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health Professions.

The current School of Medicine has been restructured and will henceforth be known as the School of Clinical Medicine. The Schools of Pathology and Biomedical Sciences have been added to the faculty. “So, three new schools were in fact created within the faculty,” said Prof Gert van Zyl, Dean of the faculty.   

“There was also a request from the National Health Laboratory Services to group academics that is rendering services in pathology into a new School of Pathology.” This is what motivated the faculty management to create two new schools.

Esteemed academics appointed 

With the creation of the new schools, there were also new appointments within the Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr Jocelyn Naicker has been appointed as the new part-time Head of the School of Pathology, Prof Chris Viljoen was appointed as the part-time Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences, and Prof Nathaniel Mofolo as the new Head of the School of Clinical Medicine. Prof Santie van Vuuren remains Head of the School of Allied Health Professions, and Prof Magda Mulder as the head of the School of Nursing. 

Research outputs to remain as usual
The addition of the new schools will not impact research output. “In the past, research was done across departmental boundaries between all the departments in the faculty,” Prof Van Zyl said. The advantages of adding two additional schools are that the workload will be distributed among the five schools. The heads of schools will work within their respective disciplines and related areas, and will eliminate the duplication of administrative functions.

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