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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

2011 Leadership group meets for the first time
2011-08-01

 

Photo: Hannes Pieterse

The long application process, panel interviews and nail-biting wait finally came to an end the past week, when the cream of our first-year class of 2011 gathered in the Scaena Theatre on our Bloemfontein Campus, for their first group meeting as the selected Leadership for Change cohort.

These 150 students, from all our faculties, will over the following year be groomed to be leaders, not only at the university, but also in their respective fields and chosen careers.
The first group of students will depart for their respective universities in America and Europe on 22 September 2011, where they will spend two weeks. The second group of students will depart for universities in Japan in January 2012.

Although they have all passed a gruelling selection process, the real hard work is only starting now for these bright young students.

The programme will take place in four phases. During the preparation phase, which has now kicked off, students are prepared for the experience ahead, while being made aware of exactly what to expect from the programme.

In the study-abroad phase, students will be placed at 15 partner institutions in various countries, and will be divided into groups of six to twelve people. According to Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director of International Academic Programmes, the groups will be diverse, in that there will be a mix of races, genders and study fields, which should guarantee dynamic interaction.

During the group’s first meeting this week, they were informed of the important goals of the Leadership for Change Programme, by Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs.

He imparted the gravity of their selection on the students by saying, “You may not get it yet, but I understand the reason we are all here. I understand that by looking at what you achieve after this programme, we can tell what the country could possibly achieve in the future. It is immensely moving to see the way you all carry yourselves, since I can see something special and unique in each of you.”
“You are all here, not because of which school you went to, or your race, or who your parents are, but because you all show potential to be something great.”

Prof. Stroebel reminded the group that despite the excitement that they all have about visiting universities in America, Europe and Asia, these visits should be seen as study trips.

“You may have three days to acquaint yourselves with the surroundings, but after that there will be very little sightseeing and a lot of hard work.”

They will participate in programmes designed by their respective host institutions, aimed at exposing them to different cultures, lifestyles and beliefs.

They will be accompanied by our staff, who Prof. Stroebel says will grow with the students, as they will be expected to guide the students through their tasks and assignments and interact with them on a daily basis.

Upon their return, there will be a debriefing phase, during which they will be expected to provide feedback on their experiences, as well as submit assignments which they will be assigned at their respective institutions.

The final phase is known as the impact phase, as this will see the students apply what they have learned in a positive manner and help drive the university to the future and to becoming a world-leading tertiary institution.

 

Media Release
1 August 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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