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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

First Global Leadership Summit brings partner universities to our university
2012-05-17

The University of the Free State (UFS) is gearing up for the Global Leadership Summit when students from universities all over the world will visit the UFS. The summit will take place from Sunday 8 July to Friday 20 July 2012. About 180 staff and students from universities in the United States, Asia and Europe are expected to visit the UFS during these two weeks and eminent scholars and politicians have already confirmed their participation. Among them are Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Dr Tim Murithi, Prof. Mark Solms, Fulbright Scholars who were previously tenured at the university, and a number of ambassadors.

Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director: International Academic Programmes, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, says that our university has increasingly embedded internationalisation in its strategic priorities. The Leadership for Change Programme, jointly hosted by International Affairs and Student Affairs, is a significant step forward in this context. This innovative and unique programme, initiated in 2010, serves as a leadership development programme focused on first-year students. It aims to build layers of new thinking and engagement among students from diverse backgrounds. As part of a year-long engagement, each student spends a period abroad where there is intense exposure to the academic, social, cultural and residential lives of students in other countries. A formal mentor development programme for staff runs concurrently with the initiative.
 
In the 2010 programme, 71 students in various cohorts were placed at nine universities in the USA. Following on the success of this initiative, in 2011, 150 students were hosted at partner universities in the USA, Europe and Japan. The impact of cross-cultural and cross-border experiences on changing and enriching the participants’ minds and attitudes has been manifested in a wide variety of ways at both the UFS and the partner institutions.
 
The Global Leadership Summit, with the theme, “Transcending Boundaries of Global Change Leadership”, is a reciprocal programme of the Leadership for Change initiative. It will focus on international engagements in addressing salient issues around change leadership, diversity and racial reconciliation in Higher Education through critical dialogues between staff and students from all over the world.
 
The programme will be continued during 2013 when 150 students will again be selected for participation and placement abroad.


Media Release
17 May 2012
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2584
Cell: +27(0)83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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