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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

Students speak at Faculty of Law as part of Blackstone Legal Fellowship Programm
2012-08-01

 
At the event were, from the left: Elizabeth Oklevitch, Ewelina Ochab, Prof. Shaun de Freitas and Prof. Andries Raath, also from the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
1 August 2012

Two students from abroad, Elizabeth Oklevitch, studying at the Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach in the US, and Ewelina Ochab, a postgraduate student with a Diploma in Law who received her LLB from the University of Kent at Canterbury, have each delivered a 15-minute presentation at the Faculty of Law. These presentations are part of the six-week practical leg of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Programme, held annually in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Faculty of Law has been involved in this initiative.

Oklevitch spoke on the impact of the natural law grounding of Sir William Blackstone’s system of rights and Ochab about the margin of appreciation in the case A, B and C v Ireland.

According to Prof. Shaun de Freitas from the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, the programme is aimed at teaching law students the importance of religious freedoms and rights. The programme is run by Alliance Defending Freedoms (ADF) in the US.

“The programme (in its 14th year) accommodates more than 130 students at the moment, representing schools of law in the United States (which include the universities of Duke, Harvard, Notre Dame, New York and Yale) and Europe. To date, approximately 1 100 students have completed the programme,” said Prof. De Freitas.
 

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