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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
2013-04-18

 

Graduates celebrate the results of years of study at the graduation ceremony on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
17 April 2013

Live streaming of ceremonies available from 16 April - 19 April 2013: http://www.ufs.ac.za/ufslivestreaming/

Joshua Johnson YouTube video

The university’s Autumn Graduation Ceremony got off to a vibrant start with energetic performances and inspiring messages for graduates.

Joshua Johnson, an American student who uses his talent for tap-dancing to fund his tertiary education, mesmerised the audience on the first of the four-day graduation ceremony 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 tap-dances on the subway trains to earn money for his tuition fees.

Delivering a keynote address, Joshua told graduates that, in order to achieve their goals, they have to understand and work diligently with the 24 hours they get to live daily. “Start with a bang and end with a bang,” he said, encouraging the audience in the nearly-packed Callie Human Centre to join him in a rhythmic tap-dancing beat.

“Don’t follow in the footsteps of someone else. Take the beat of life, but add your rhythm to it," his wise words resonating with the exhilarated graduates.

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

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the University, echoed Joshua‘s message, telling graduates not to be discouraged by life’s difficulties.

“Take what you have learned over the last three or four years and use that knowledge to reach your goal,” he advised.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, encouraged them to continue to study. “To break the cycle of poverty, get an education, get a degree.” He told them that as graduates they are ten times more likely to get a job, with the odds rising as they continue their postgraduate studies.

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 these two ceremonies.

The programme for the respective ceremonies is:

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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