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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

US ambassador impressed by the UFS class of 2010
2010-01-19

 Mr Donald Gips

 “Students should learn to look beyond themselves to break up the barriers that keep them apart as human beings.”

This was the message of the USA ambassador to South Africa, Mr Donald Gips (pictured), to the first-year students who had enrolled at the university for the first time, during the grand opening of the Get Success@UFS Week at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein.

“Take the advantage of the opportunities you have here to grow outside yourselves, to prove the value of diversity and make this university a place where you will grow as an individual; and also contribute back to the community,” he said.

He said the UFS was a beautiful campus undertaking an incredible mission to change the face of South Africa.

“It is incredible and exciting to listen to the energy and to see the enthusiasm of all the students here to make this one of the best universities in the country and setting an example to the world,” he said.

On transformation at higher education institutions, Ambassador Gips said that, just like in the USA, transformation was incredibly difficult.

“It is an ongoing project that everyone has to keep working towards,” he said. “But I am quite convinced that being here today and watching the students and professors tackle this challenge, this university will succeed.”

Addressing the new students, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, quoted from one of the famous speeches by the great Martin Luther King Jr. and asked the question: “What is or can be the content of your character?”

He implored the students to judge fellow students by the content of their character and not by the colour of their skins.
“If we succeed with you, our country will succeed. If we succeed with you, our university will succeed,” he said

Prof. Jansen said it was the first time in the history of the UFS that students were integrated as human beings.

“This is the most integrated group of students the UFS has ever had,” he said.
He appealed to them to live their dreams, learn to embrace others, study seriously, make a difference; and guide their leaders.

The purpose of the Get Success@UFS Week is to acquaint the first-year students with the UFS and the academic opportunities that are available to them. The aim is to:
help students succeed academically;
help students to adjust to and get involved in the university environment;
assist parents and other family members in understanding the complexity, demands and services in the University environment; and
provide an opportunity to learn more about incoming students through formal and informal means.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
19 January 2010
 

 

 

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