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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

Historic Global exchange summit for first-year students in 2012
2011-10-21

 
More than one hundred Kovsie first-year students travelled to universities in the USA and Europe in September 2011 to learn about issues such as diversity, leadership and citizenship. More students will travel to Asia in January 2012. Daniel King, Melissa Lucas, Jomari de Beer and Rito Madingana visited Ghent University in Belgium.
Photo: Anja Aucamp

Our University will present a global exchange partner summit next year with the 16 partner universities who took part in this year’s Leadership for Change Programme. This will be the first summit of its kind presented in South Africa bringing together first-year students from four continents and 17 countries. The summit will take place from 8 - 22 July 2012 on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The aim of the summit is for first-year students from all partner universities in the USA, Europe and Asia to visit our university and experience student life at a South African university. The students will be staying on campus and an intensive programme covering issues such as social justice, diversity, leadership and citizenship will be presented.

Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs at our university, says the summit will serve as an opportunity to detail further partnership agreements with a number of universities such as Binghamton State University, amongst others.

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