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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

Student Transformation Forum kicks off
2010-08-19

Ms Nida Jooste and Ms Modieyi Mothole
Photo: Lize du Plessis

The establishment of a Broad Student Transformation Forum (BSTF) at the University of the Free State (UFS) was initiated yesterday with a student consultative forum called to determine the agenda and delegations to the BSTF.

The establishment of the BSTF follows the suspension of the functioning of the Student Representative Council (SRC) recently and aims to provide students broadly with the opportunity to reach consensus regarding student governance at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The meeting was chaired by student affairs specialist Prof. Cecil Bodibe and was attended by representatives from student associations from all faculties, representatives of non-faculty student associations and representatives from residences. Commuter students were represented through private student associations.

“The meeting clearly expressed agreement that decisions taken by the BSTF should ensure that the student body and student-life programmes truly reflect our constitutional commitment to building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, and that collaboration between students and management in affecting the decisions of the BSTF to achieve this should be prioritised,” Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, said.

The forum agreed that apart from addressing specific questions pertaining to student governance, the BSTF should also address transformation issues broadly. The forum also agreed that the delegations to the BSTF should ensure that the forum is truly representative of the diverse student population and is inclusive of all stakeholder groups, including international students and students with disability. A proper process to determine the credentials of participating association was requested and will be implemented.

The meeting furthermore expressed the wish that the BSTF should exist only to determine the key changes that should be made to student governance now, so that the postponed SRC elections may continue as soon as possible. The BSTF will thus have a temporary role to enable the student body to reach consensus regarding changes to the SRC constitution.

Meanwhile, an Interim Student Committee (ISC) was appointed, which has the role to ensure the continuation of daily student life programmes and to ensure student representation in management and governance of the university continues during the deliberations of the BSTF. The ISC serves as an interim structure that will dissolve when a new SRC takes office following the outcome of the BSTF and the continuation of the SRC election.

The ISC consists of 15 members who were appointed through a process of nomination of four (4) members each from the faculty-student associations, non-faculty student associations and from residences, and three (3) members from the student executive committees of Kovsie Community Service, the Irawa student newspaper and the Kovsie Rag executive committee.

The ISC elected Ms Modieyi Mothole and Ms Nida Jooste as its chairperson and deputy-chairperson, respectively.
“I’m encouraged with the initiative and response of students to ensure student governance continues, which bears witness to the depth of leadership our student body holds, while the level of engagement by students in the BSTF indicates that the student body seriously consider issues of transformation,” said Mr Buys.

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

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