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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

Justin J. Kennedy leads new Programme in Personal Excellence
2012-05-08

 

Justin J. Kennedy
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar
8 May 2012

Justin J. Kennedy has been appointed as the Manager of the new Programme in Personal Excellence. The programme is hosted in the Centre for Business Dynamics, the commercial unit of the Business School.

He studied at Rhodes University and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and his research has been published in various health-related publications. His D.Psych. at the University of California migrated into a Ph.D. with research partner DiscoveryHealth.

While in New York, he was part of the research laboratory Helicor that developed the world’s first hand-held medical device for measuring heart-rate variability of the peripheral nervous system.  This device forms part of the programmes offered to control stress and improve cognitive performance as per clinical trials at the UCT Department of Human Biology. This programme evolved into developing the M.Sc. course work on occupational stress and Ph.D. student supervision.

The programme will launch during the university's Beneficiary Programme for Academic Heads of Department, and will focus on the neuro-economics of stress resilience.

Justin’s most recent research is peer review for an international leadership journal where he has presented evidence on how people can improve their cognitive performance and working memory by building functional stress resilience. The overall aim of the programme is to not only reduce stress, but to improve ability to be excellent at work.  Clinical results have shown it is beneficial for performance anxiety, insomnia, migraine, hypertension control and improved ability at cognitive tasks.  The aim of his work is to ensure that simple and practical skills provide academics, students and corporate participants with enduring, functional techniques that are easily applied in their working lives.

The programme has three roles: to offer services that equip students and academics; consulting services to corporate clients, financial groups and private hospitals; and publication of results in peer-reviewed journals. 

This initiative also envisages offering a postgraduate qualification and selected coaching qualifications.  For more info about corporate interventions and programmes open to students and academics, please contact Ansie Barnard at barnardam@ufs.ac.za.
 

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