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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 Dean invited as keynote speaker at international conference
2011-03-23

Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of Education

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Dean of Education, Prof. Dennis Francis, has received the honour of being invited as keynote speaker at the Fourth International Conference of Education Reform (ICER).

Prof. Francis, who has already published widely in the areas of social justice education and sexuality education, will address the conference on 24 and 25 March 2011 in Luang Prabang, Laos.
 
The theme of the conference is Equality and Education. Prof. Francis will address the international audience with his speech entitled “Troubling elements of a theory of oppression that should inform the work of teachers in higher education”.
                                                                 
Prof. Francis’ keynote will address three questions, namely what challenges South African society presents to the teaching of anti-oppression, what elements of theory and pedagogy are most effective in equipping teachers and students for those challenges and what real-life experiences of teaching in the area of education for social justice can teach about pedagogy in any context where injustice and inequality prevails. He will draw on his personal experiences regarding the latter. 
 
“We need to deepen the theoretical grasp of oppression if education is to be effective in addressing social inequality. Teaching for equity and social justice education requires that we address the multiple layers of oppression that correspond with varying forms of privilege and injustice, and none of these exist in isolation.” 
 
Prof. Dennis says that he is humbled by the invitation and sees this as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute in the area of education in social justice.


Media Release
23 March 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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