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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

Do universities need theology faculties?
2012-03-27

 

From left to right: Ms Anlené Taljaard, Department of Systematic Theology, Prof. Francois Tolmie, Dean: Faculty of Theology and Prof. Alan Boesak of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice. All three are from the UFS.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
27 March 2012


Challenges facing training in theology in South Africa was the focus of a public lecture by Prof. Alan Boesak of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice at the university. Prof. Boesak is one in a series of speakers who were invited by the university’s Faculty of Theology to discuss the broader theme of the transformation of knowledge. The presence of a faculty of theology at a public university has been a point of discussion in many circles.

“Our country needs an RDP of the soul and who better than the theology faculties to make a contribution in this regard?” asked Prof. Boesak.
 
“An important challenge for a faculty of theology lies in the content that theology students learn. Does the content reflect the context of South Africa today? Theology students must be prepared to make a positive, meaningful contribution in their congregations and communities within the realities of South Africa,” Prof. Boesak said.
 
Prof. Boesak’s lecture was attended by not only lecturers and students in theology, but also staff members from several other departments on the university’s Bloemfontein Campus.
 
Several national and international speakers will present guest lectures during the year in order to sketch a more complete picture of the “transformation of knowledge”.

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