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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

Lots of inspiration at Autumn Graduation Ceremony
2013-04-08

 

Photo: Hannes Pieterse
27 March 2013

The university’s Autumn Graduation Ceremony promises to be another special occasion, with speakers from South Africa and abroad that will address the graduates.

A total of 526 diplomas/certificates and 2 796 bachelor’s and honours degrees will be awarded at the ceremony. The diplomas/certificates and degrees will be awarded during eight ceremonies in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus from 16 to 19 April 2013.

Well-known radio host and Idols South Africa judge, Gareth Cliff, will be the guest speaker at two ceremonies on 18 April 2013. He will be joined by Vicus Visser, the South African YouTube singing sensation dubbed Bloemfontein’s Justin Bieber. Vicus and his brother Vincent, will perform during the two ceremonies.

Graduates will also be able to draw inspiration from the American student and tap dancer, Joshua Johnson, whom overseas media report widely about. Joshua inspired American audiences with his story of hope and perseverance. The student from Penn State University travels five hours by bus to New York every weekend, where he dances on the subway train to earn money for his tuition fees.

Joshua has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and his story has also been told in the New York Times and on the American news programme ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

Joshua will be the guest speaker at the ceremonies on 16, 17 and 19 April 2013. He will also deliver a dance item.

The programme for the respective ceremonies is:

Tuesday 16 April

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of the Humanities: only Social Sciences and Communication Science.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of the Humanities: Social Sciences and Communication Science excluded.

Wednesday 17 April

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Education.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculties of Health Sciences, Law and Theology.

Thursday 18 April

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: only Agricultural Sciences and Architecture.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: only Natural Sciences.

Friday 19 April

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: all diplomas and degrees in the Faculty, except BCom and BComHons.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: only BCom and BComHons.

The Qwaqwa Campus’ graduation ceremony will take place on 8 June 2013. Diplomas/certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded at this ceremony.

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