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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

Professor lectures class – from his closet!
2013-03-05

 

Prof Vernon Louw recording his lessons in his ‘studio’
Photo: Supplied
05 March 2013

A professor, and lecturer, at the University of the Free State (UFS) nowadays gives ‘class’ in his sleep and from within his walk-in closet.

Prof Vernon Louw from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Faculty of Health Sciences recently began to make video recordings in which he presents his lessons in his discipline of Internal Medicine and Haematology.

In the mean time, due to the lack of a studio, he does his recordings in his walk-in closet where it is soundproof.

“I started the videos as a personal initiative, since there is great potential to create a completely integrated platform from where the students can watch the videos in their own time. It also provides us with more time to work interactively with our students in the class, since they already watched the videos on their own or can perhaps watch it later.”

The videos, which are viewable on Youtube under the name ‘Vernon Louw – MedEd’, are very specific and concepts are explained step by step with the objective of mastering them in ten-minute videos. There are already five videos uploaded and students from over the world can view them.

“The benefit is that now I can ‘lecture’ while I sleep. It is wonderful to notice in the mornings that another 20 viewers somewhere in the world joined.”

Prof Louw says that most of the videos are currently watched by mainly South-African, American, Indian and British viewers.

The videos can be watched on the Youtube channel: Vernon Louw MedEd

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