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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

International scholars discuss Higher Education and Human Development
2012-07-05

 

World-leading scholars. From the left are: Profs. Elaine Unterhalter, Monica Mclean, Alejandra Boni and Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti.
Photo: Stephen Collett.
5 July 2012

The new research area on Higher Education and Human Development, led by Prof. Melanie Walker, recently hosted an international workshop and an innovative one day research seminar with world-leading scholars in the field.

At the research seminar, papers were presented by Prof. Alejandra Boni (Technical University of Valencia, Spain) on the human development university; Prof. Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti (University of Pavia, Italy) on human capital and human capabilities; Prof. Monica McLean (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom) on pedagogical rights and equality and Prof. Elaine Unterhalter (Institute of Education, United Kingdom) on gender and human development trade-offs.

Those present were invited to consider human development purposes for public universities in the 21st century and the implications that would follow for human capabilities development, curriculum and pedagogies, and diversity and inclusion.

Copies of the presentations can be obtained from Dr Sonja Loots at lootss@ufs.ac.za

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