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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

Architecture gets unconditional validation
2012-10-15

 Three programmes of the Department of Architecture at the university received an extended unconditional validation from the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) and the Commonwealth Association of Architecture (CAA).

The programmes are evaluated every four years and the previous evaluation in 2008 was also unconditional. The programmes that were validated are BAS, BAS (Hons.) and M.Arch. (Prof).

Mr Jonathan Manning, chairperson of the board of eight people that visited the department, says the department’s standards have improved more since the previous visit. He expressed his apprectiation for the departement’s unique specialist approach to alternative building methods, tours, winter schools, the annual Sophia Gray lecture, the good team of lecturers and the impressive Architecture building.

Two members of the board who visited the department are from the CAA.

Mrs Martie Bitzer, Departmental Chairperson, says the validation proves that the programmes are not only recognised nationally but also internationally. “It confirms that the students are at the right place at the right time in terms of the vision of the UFS, namely to be an internationally recognised university.”

The validation of the CAA means that the qualifications are recognised in all the Commonwealth countries.

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