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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

Department of Architecture builds next generation of architects
2010-03-22

 
With Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS are René Malan en Sancha Olivier.


Since 1987 first-year architecture students have been building huts on campus annually as part of an introduction to architectural studies at the Department of Architecture at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Martie Bitzer, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, the students build these full-scale huts in groups of two, with responses to orientation, materials (grass, reads, earth construction – mud bricks), climate and community over a period of approximately three weeks.

On the day that the students completed their huts, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, visited the small community of 27 huts in the veld behind the Rag Farm. Here he was taken on a walk amongst the huts. He also addressed staff and students of the Department of Architecture

“I can smell excellence and goodness,” was some of Prof. Jansen’s remarks as he walked amongst the huts.

“Top students come to our Department of Architecture. Quality attracts quality. The recent achievements of this department are proof of this,” he said.

One of Kovsies final-year students, Wim Steenkamp, was named National Corobrik Architecture Student of the Year 2008. This was the second time in the past three years that a student from the UFS Department of Architecture has won this prestigious competition. The department also received unconditional accreditation from the South African Council for the Architecture Profession (SACAP) for all three courses offered, and over the past few years its students have won the Tripod Photography Competition, the National Cement and Concrete Institute Competition for honours students, and the Carl and Emily Fuchs Foundation Student Prestigious Prize.

This once again confirms the prestige the department enjoys in the field of architecture in South Africa. It is also proof of the quality of staff and the programmes offered at the department.
 

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