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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

Americans want to strengthen ties with UFS
2011-04-06

Representatives from our university and Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Campus (UWM) in America met about possible collaborative agreements during the past week. Here are, from the left: Profs. Hannes Britz, the Provost (Academic); Tien-Chien Jen, UWM Dean of the College of Engineering; and Wade Hobgood, Dean of the Peck School of Art. In front sits Dr Nalize Marais from the Directorate for Institutional Research and Academic Planning.


Photo: Gerda-Marie Viviers

Academics from the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Campus (UWM) paid a visit to our university on 22 March 2011. The visit was earmarked to investigate possible research and collaborative agreements. Academic areas which were focused on prominently were engineering, water science, and education, specifically with regard to the disciplines of mathematics, science, technology and the arts. UFS lecturers representing the Faculties of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Education and Health Sciences participated in the discussions. According to Dr Nalize Marais from the Directorate for Institutional Research and Academic Planning, possible agreements relate to exchange students, teaching opportunities for academic staff and joint research projects. “Personally, I am going to work with them (UWM) on programme planning and curriculum design for six weeks starting next week.'' She said that other UFS staff would probably also travel to Milwaukee later this year for amongst others research, new programmes and teaching.

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