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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

Zoology and Entomology celebrates 100 years
2012-05-12

 

Dr Candice Jansen van Rensburg and Prof. Jo van As.


The Department of Zoology and Entomology is celebrating its hundredth birthday. To commemorate this, a series of lectures will be presented throughout the year. The lectures focus on the history of the department, as well as past and current research activities.

At the first lecture, Prof. Jo van As, Head of the Department, presented a comprehensive history of the academic background of the department, including information on all the preceding heads of Zoology and Entomology. He also gave an overview of the history of the Aquatic Ecology research group that he started in 1988 when he first became the Head of the Department.

In her lecture, Dr Candice Jansen van Rensburg outlined the activities of the newly established Nematology study group. She stressed the importance of establishing this field of expertise in an effort to address the lack of trained nematologists in South Africa.

Future lectures will be presented by the department’s various study groups and will be held on a quarterly basis. The lectures are held in the Biology 1 lecture hall (BL1) and are open to all. The celebrations will culminate in a centenary banquet later in the year. – Prof. Linda Basson.

The dates for future lectures are as follows:

10 May: Arachnology and Acarology
2 August: Eco-Ethology and Environmental Entomology
15 November: Herpetology and Insect-Plant Interactions
 

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