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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

Villa Bravado orientation practice
2010-08-02

The University of the Free State (UFS) takes note of forbidden initiation practices which Residence Committee Members (RCM) of Villa Bravado, a men’s residence of the UFS, participated in during September and October 2009. A video of the events is currently widely being distributed.

Earlier this year, the UFS management was informed about the events by students who had also been involved in the initiation practices and management took note of that with great dismay.

These events took place despite the comprehensive amount of support and assistance regarding transformation which is continuously provided to students in residences. The UFS clearly and regularly communicates to students that initiation is strictly forbidden.

After the management had been informed of the matter, it was immediately addressed and the following measures were taken by the Dean: Student Affairs, Mr Rudi Buys without delay:

  1. The Student Head of the residence was immediately suspended as RCM member; and
  2. Disciplinary proceedings were immediately instituted against the Residence Head because of his alleged involvement in these forbidden practices. The case is currently under investigation.

The UFS is convinced that the event was not an incident where black students acted against white students, because black members of the Residence Committee had undergone the same initiation exercise earlier. The misconduct was a continuation of a forbidden initiation practice that is not allowed at the UFS.

“I expect that these events, which took place last year, were the last of students exercising forbidden initiation practices and once again I strongly wish to express the loathing that my management and myself have for any form of forbidden initiation practice,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of 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 
2 August 2010

 

 

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