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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.


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Prof Britz heading to Yale
2013-04-22

 

Prof Dolf Britz
Photo: Supplied
22 April 2013

Prof Dolf Britz has been awarded the honour of an appointment at Yale Divinity School (YDS) at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States. Starting in August 2013, Prof Britz will be involved in research initiatives and the teaching of post-graduate seminars at the university, which was founded in 1701.
The appointment is the natural progression of a collaboration agreement between the University of the Free State (UFS) and Yale University which dates back to 2009 with the formation of the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa. The strategic partnership focuses on increasing African access to quality education and is geared towards empowering new-generation African leaders in academic and faith-based organisations with primary scholarly resources, research, education and publication.
Prof Britz’s appointment is equally exciting to the respective faculties involved at the UFS and Yale.
“We are most grateful that the generous support by the University of the Free States makes it possible for Prof Britz to be with us in this capacity,” said Prof Carolyn Sharp, Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at YDS.

Prof Adriaan Neele, the Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale and extraordinary professor at the UFS, thinks Prof Britz’s appointment can be just as beneficial to YDS students.

“Prof Britz’s keen insight in historical primary sources will be very beneficial to Yale’s students and the faculty. His appointment demonstrates the strategic nature of the academic relationship between the UFS and Yale,” he said.

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