Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019
Previous Archive
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 takes 70 first-year students to the USA
2010-08-20

 
Mr Rudi Buys (middle, with tie) with some of the students selected for the F1 Programme
Photo: Gerhard Louw

The University of the Free State (UFS) has announced the names of the first ever group of 70 first-year students that will travel to the United States of America (USA) as part of the university’s Student Leadership Development Programme.

This group of students will spend two weeks at universities in the USA to experience student life and learn about leadership and diversity at these universities.

“This is a first for not only the UFS, but also for South Africa and we are incredibly proud. The programme is unique to any other student leadership development programme in the country. We are leading the way and are taking students to live and learn amongst students at various universities across the USA,” said Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS.

The programme was one of the goals of Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, which he aimed to realise when he was appointed by the UFS in 2009.

“With the programme we want to develop participants’ thinking and capacity to lead in the contexts of diversity and change and we hope to direct them to programmes leading change in student life in general upon their return,” Mr Buys said.

The 70 students will leave for the USA on 22 September 2010. After spending some time there and learning more about their American peers’ lives and culture, they will return to the UFS on 7 October 2010.

“We took great care in selecting the 70 participants. They are representative of all our students, as well as students from our Qwaqwa Campus,” said Mr Buys.

A rigorous selection process was followed, which focused on the students’ academic excellence, their participation in student- and residence-life programmes and their interest in growing in the areas of, amongst others, leadership, diversity and citizenship. Each candidate had to undergo a pre-selection process, followed by a panel interview consisting of staff from various faculties and divisions at the UFS.

The students will stay in groups of about ten at the various universities, which include universities such as Cornell University, New York University, the University of Massachusetts, the Appalachian State University and Virginia Polytechnic University. “These universities will provide our students with accommodation and will present various academic and cultural programmes which our students will participate in and learn from,” said Mr Buys.

“We have also put a programme in place to prepare our students thoroughly for the trip. Because some of them have never travelled on an aeroplane, let alone travelled to a foreign country, we have made arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs for assistance with travel documentation, as well as special arrangements with the USA Embassy for assistance with visas. They will also be attending workshops focusing on, amongst others, research, leadership and diversity before their departure on 22 September 2010.

“Upon their arrival in the USA the group of students will firstly be taken to Washington DC where they will be briefed about American customs, etc. From there they will be placed at the various universities,” said Mr Buys.

Upon their return the students must be involved in student-life programmes on campus, establish volunteer programmes and initiate and establish mentoring programmes for their fellow students. “We want them to give back what they have learnt and experienced,” said Mr Buys.

“We are planning on implementing the Student Leadership Development Programme as an annual programme and are looking forward to this incredible programme through which this group of first-year students will have the opportunity of a lifetime to be true ambassadors of South Africa and, in particular, the UFS, as they leave for the USA,” he said.

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

 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful, to better understand how they are used and to tailor advertising. You can read more and make your cookie choices here. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept