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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 Abroad Fair presents exciting opportunities
2013-04-23

 

Staff and students gain a wealth of information at the first Study Abroad Fair hosted on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Stephen Collett
23 April 2013

Kovsie staff and students gained a wealth of information at the first Study Abroad Fair hosted by the Office for International Affairs on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Representatives from partner universities across the USA, Europe and Asia took part in the fair, giving information on study opportunities abroad. They were joined by representatives of international funding agencies and foreign missions from countries including Canada, Indonesia, France and the Republic of Azerbaijan, who gave information on funding opportunities to study overseas.

Welcoming visitors, Ms Dineo Gaofhiwe-Ingram, Assistant Director: Internationalisation, said international education forms a very important and critical part of the university’s strategy of aiming and working towards becoming a research intensive university.

“I believe all here understand and know the value of an international education, both as a donor agency, as an embassy that has bilateral agreements with the South African government to support education, and as a staff member that is here with students to encourage them to go abroad. It is important that our staff and students get to learn and experience from others and others from them.”

Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations, encouraged Kovsies “to visit the world and bring the world back to the UFS.”

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, had a similar message, talking about the advantages of seeing the world. “You never get to be a good leader unless your sense of the world is bigger than yourself. My goal is to make sure that almost every undergraduate student has some experience of studying abroad.“

List of Exhibitors who took part in the Study Abroad Fair:

1. Funding Agencies
Embassy of USA
Embassy of France
Embassy of The Republic of Azerbaijan
European Union
Embassy of Canada
National Research Foundation (NRF)
Embassy of Switzerland
Embassy of Indonesia
Czech Republic Embassy
Research Africa
British Council

2. Partner Universities Abroad
Mahasarakham University (Thailand)
Appalachian State University (USA)
University of Brussels
Radboud University Nijmegen
The Hague University of Applied Sciences
University of Bremen
VU University Amsterdam
University of Groningen
University of Antwerp
University of Leuven
Jönköping University

3. UFS Representation
Postgraduate School (UFS)
Office for International Affairs (UFS)
Faculty of Education (UFS)
Department of Plant Sciences (UFS)
Department of Social Work (UFS)

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