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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

Study shows that even cheating monkeys alter their behaviour to avoid detection and punishment
2013-03-12

 

Dr Le Roux sharing a moment with the geladas (Theropithecus gelada).
Photo: Supplied
11 March 2013

A recent article headed by Dr Aliza le Roux from the University of the Free State Qwaqwa Campus’ Department of Zoology and Entomology, asserts that cheating and deception is not only a human phenomenon - it is also found in non-human animals.

“Our specific study investigated cheating and punishment in geladas. While human beings are known to deceive one another, and punish cheaters that get caught, it is actually very rare to find proof of this kind of behaviour in non-human animals,” said Dr Le Roux.

“We don't know if this is because humans are uniquely deceitful, or if it is just that animals deal with cheating differently. Our study was therefore the first to demonstrate that gelada males and females try to deceive their partners when they are cheating on them. This means they try to hide their unfaithful behaviour.” This is therefore the first investigation to document tactical deception in primates living in a natural environment.

“We also showed that the cuckolded males then punish the cheaters, but could not determine if the punishment actually caused cheaters to stop cheating,” said Dr Le Roux.

This on-going and long-term study continues to observe the population of wild geladas in the Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. The study investigates primate hormones, cognition, genetics, social behaviour and conservation, and is done in collaboration with the Universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The full version of the article can be accessed on (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n2/full/ncomms2468.html).


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