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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

Vice-Chancellor honoured with major awards
2013-05-02

02 May 2013

The University of the Free State (UFS) is proud to announce that Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, has been awarded a number of major awards recently.

The University of California in the United States awarded him the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. The award is made in recognition of persons who exemplify in their work the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in the diverse local and global society.

“The committee was very impressed with the commitment that Prof Jansen has had to reconciliation and forgiveness as a way to build bridges and to find common ground. Prof Jansen is following in the steps of many of our greatest peace-time leaders and we support his efforts to bring understanding to all cultures,” said Mark Aldenderfer, chair of the awards committee and Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Art at the University of California.

Prof Jansen also received the 2013 Academia Award at the Sixth Annual Ubuntu Lecture and Dialogue Awards Ceremony of the Turquoise Harmony Institute on 4 April 2013 in Johannesburg. The Institute aims to foster relations among different faith and cultural traditions to contribute to the well-being of humanity.

According to the organisers, “outstanding individuals who made noteworthy contributions to dialogue, peace and harmony in the society,” are given recognition during the ceremony. The awards are made in a number of different categories. Prof Jansen was among the recipients who included Graca Machel and the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF). Previous winners of Turquoise Awards include Ahmed Kathrada, Chester Williams, Dr Frene Ginwala and Prof Russel Botman.

On 10 May 2013, Prof Jansen was also honoured by Kappa Delta Pi International Honour Society in Education. He was awarded membership of the Laureate Chapter of the society founded in 1911 which “is comprised of men and women who have made distinguished contributions to education, and is limited to 60 living persons”. Prof Jansen joins an exclusive membership of 293 which includes such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jean Piaget and George Washington Carver.

Also in the United States, Prof Jansen has been invited to be Messenger Lecturer for Fall 2013 at Cornell University. He will give three lectures and interact with the students and staff of Cornell at various functions.

“This is a significant honour and it will really allow members from across the university to get a deeper appreciation of the work you are doing at UFS and in South Africa more broadly,” said Prof Judith Byfield of Cornell’s Department of History and Director of Graduate Studies at the department’s Africana Studies and Research Centre.

On the local front, City Press published its inaugural 100 World Class South Africans on 28 April 2013. During a rigorous selection process, 100 of our country’s most extraordinary citizens who have achieved world-class status were chosen. Prof Jansen’s achievements procured him a place on this prestigious list in the category: Heroes and Mavericks.

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