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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

UFS is the most integrated campus in the country
2010-01-29

 
 Judge Ian van der Merwe, Chairperson of the University of the Free State's (UFS) Council and Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS at the official opening ceremony.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse

“The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Main Campus is the most integrated campus in the country.”

This was said by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS during the university’s official opening on its Main Campus in Bloemfontein today.

Addressing staff and students, Prof. Jansen said that the first-year students in the majority of the residences are now fully integrated on a 50/50 basis. “The majority of our house committees are now also integrated,” he said.

He used the ladies residence Welwitschia as an example. “When I walked into to this residence last year it consisted only of black female students. When I visited them again this year I could not believe what I saw: the residence is fully integrated and there are white and black students living together. This is an example of our young people’s willingness to live together and we must believe in their potential,” he said.

Prof. Jansen said that the UFS does not want to be good because “good is the enemy of great” (from Jim Collins in his book Good to Great). “We want to be great. This is the year in which our staff and students’ lives will change and this university will change as we take the first steps in making the leap from good to great,” he said.

Prof. Jansen said that there have been many developments at the UFS so far this year. “We have attracted some of the best scholars in the country and other parts of the world to this university, and we will be selecting from among them in the next two weeks. We have also attracted some of the best athletes in the country in our first-year class, including some of the best hockey players,” he said.

Prof. Jansen outlined the following as his priorities for 2010:

  • The phasing in of compulsory class attendance as a way to drastically improve the quality of teaching at the UFS. “This will also enhance our throughput. However, before we can to this, we are going to accelerate the building of larger classrooms to accommodate all our students,” he said.
  • The appointment of a senior vice-rector in the near future, who will manage the day to day operations of the UFS;
  • To market the UFS to the best and most promising schools in South Africa. “This will start next week when I will be visiting schools in the Eastern Cape.”
  • To raise R100 million to enable more students with talent to study at the UFS, and to build an endowment to be proud of for the future of the university;
  • To upgrade the infrastructure in the residences;
  • To require every member of the university’s academic staff to publish every year;
  • To train administrative and support staff so that a world-class service culture can be created which takes every student, every parent and every staff member seriously; and
  • To insist that the conditions of service of staff working for agencies outside the UFS be improved by increasing the minimum remuneration dramatically and by making study benefits available to them as well. “We will not renew our tenders with outside agencies unless they raise the minimum wage of their staff,” he said.

Prof. Jansen said that he was extremely proud of the Student Representative Council’s (SRC) leadership and what they have achieved so far during their term. He also thanked the staff for their hard work and the excellence they bring to the UFS.
 

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
29 January 2010
 

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