Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
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

Kovsie student aims for the record books
2011-10-11

 

Potential Guinness World Record-holder, Hermann van Heerden
Photo: Phelekwa Mpono

The Guinness World Record for the longest continuous wheelie in a wheelchair was achieved by Michael Miller of the United States, who covered a distance of 16,12 km on the rear wheels of his wheelchair on 8 August 2009.

On 11 October 2011, Hermann van Heerden, a second-year Kovsie student, will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the longest wheelie in a wheelchair in a stationary position. The 22-year-old disabled student from the University of the Free State (UFS) will manoeuvre his wheelchair so that the front wheels lift off the ground.

Hermann, who is studying for a BEd degree, was born with spina bifida, a developmental congenital disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. He has been in a wheelchair since he was a toddler.

Hermann’s Guinness World Record attempt forms part of the ten-year celebrations of the Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD) at the UFS. The unit was established in February 2001, with fifteen registered students, but currently supports 143 registered students. The USD focuses on promoting equity for students with disabilities, including access to courses, buildings, learning materials, residences, leisure and sports activities and the opportunity to succeed in such activities.

The unit supports students with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); mobility–impaired students (wheelchair users and amputees, as well as those suffering from cerebral palsy, muscle dystrophy, spina bifida and multiple sclerosis); visually-impaired students; hearing-impaired students, students suffering from “other” conditions (mental impairment ((schizophrenia)), epilepsy, panic disorder) and those with temporary impairments (broken hand).

Hermann said that he would like to use his record attempt as a means of raising money for the USD and welcomes sponsorships. “The USD has only been good to me ever since I registered at the UFS. Every time I had a question, they answered it. Every time I had a problem with a class, they resolved it. This year, the unit has its ten-year anniversary and I thought it was time for me to give back.”
 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept