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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

Head of Department receives prestigious scholarship
2012-02-01

 

Prof. Hennie van Coller

Professor Hennie van Coller, Outstanding Professor and Head of our Department Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French, is the proud receiver of a EURIAS (European Institute for Advanced Studies) Scholarship. Prof. Van Coller is one of 17 candidates from all disciplines to be awarded the EURIAS Scholarship.

The scholarship includes a 10-month residency at one of the 14 institutions involved. Prof. Van Coller will be accommodated at the Flemish Academic Centre for Science and the Arts (VLAC) in Brussels.
 
Researchers from around the world were given the opportunity to apply for this prestige scholarship. It is awarded in the fields of the humanities and social sciences, as well as in other fields of science. Applicants had to submit an “innovative” research proposal, which demonstrates the ability to move further than disciplinary specialisation and also show an international alliance and quality of publications.
 
Van Coller is the editor of Perspektief en Profiel: ’n Afrikaanse Literatuurgeskiedenis. This literature study is used internationally and is currently being updated and reissued. He is also one of just a few contributors in Afrikaans literature to be instrumental in the new Cambridge South African Literary History edited by David Attwood and Derek Attridge.

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