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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

Statement regarding pulping of books by the UFS Sasol Library
2017-12-07


With reference to reports in the media and social media since 5 December 2017 about the pulping of books by the UFS Sasol Library, the executive management of the University of the Free State (UFS) would like to put the matter into perspective.
 
The book collection of the library is governed by a Library Committee of Senate, and no books can be removed from the library without formal approval from the committee. The university values the wealth of knowledge preserved in the library, and will not act irresponsibly with its collection.
 
Although the executive management takes note of the comments of some concerned organisations and members of the public in the media and social media the past couple of days, no books were removed from the library and sent to be pulped – only bound journals of which the university has online versions. These are journals that have been removed from the journal section for quite some time, and have not been used for a considerable number of years.
 
The decision to reduce the size of the collection to at least 35%, and to secure remote storage in close proximity of the library in Bloemfontein for some of the collections, was taken after a thorough external review of the library in 2014 as well as a gap review this year.
 
Two aspects were actioned after the review: books which have not been used at all in the past 20 years were moved to a storeroom in the library; journals removed from the journal section which have not been used actively for quite some time and which are not available online or cannot be found elsewhere through any means, will be moved to a remote storage in Bloemfontein and be retrieved as the need arises.
 
The only journals sent for pulping were those readily available online through current subscriptions, journals that the library is not subscribed to but are freely available online, journals that have since become Open Access Journals, magazines that have popular titles and are of no academic value, annual reports of societies and associations, and some abstracts. Thorough and responsible evaluation of these bound journals was done before they were sent for pulping.
 
The move of the books to a store room in the library and the removal of the bound journals will provide space to implement recommendations by the task team assigned by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, to investigate repurposing the library into a world-class, state-of-the-art library where physical and virtual space is created to support multi-purpose learning spaces for students, collaborative and group learning, and providing space for more innovation in the library through technology, thus enhancing the overall student and user experience.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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