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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 unveils new HPC cluster
2011-04-04

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Prof. Theuns Verschoor and staff of the UFS ICT department at the unveiling of the HPC cluster

Our university has unveiled a brand-new multimillion-rand High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster, which promises to enhance the way research is done at our university.

The new HPC cluster is a super powerful computing cluster, and already has 28 users from six university departments using it to speed up and simplify their research. The cluster of more than R2,7 million was unveiled in March 2011.
 
It boasts an incredible 800 processing cores and special high-speed data-transfer technology, to make even the most expensive home PC look like a stone-age relic.
Prof. Janse Tolmie, Senior Director: Information and Communication Technology Services (ICT Services) at the UFS, says the cluster is used to simulate experiments and their outcome electronically, using advanced software and the high processing power of the cluster.
 
The cluster is especially useful to researchers in the Chemistry, Bio-chemistry and Medical Physics departments. Prof. Tolmie says these simulations are an internationally recognised means of conducting research and it is very important for a research institution to have access to such a facility.
 
In the past, many research articles have been published by UFS researchers, based on research done using the previous incarnation of an HPC cluster at our university.
Prof. Tolmie says the cluster can also be connected to clusters at other universities and research facilities to form national or international HPC grids.
 
This will enable researchers elsewhere to access the massive processing power that UFS researchers now have at their fingertips.
 
 
Media Release
30 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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