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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

Renewal process in JBM Hertzog Residence
2014-03-19

In February 2014, the JBM Hertzog residence community initiated a process of renewal. The review and reassessment of university symbols and traditions is nothing new; it takes place on a regular basis through the institution.

This means that various conversations take place to consult students on the evaluation of their residence’s values, symbols, systems and traditions in a changing South Africa. The university is deeply committed to continuously renewing its residence cultures through focused conversations in order to be more inspiring and welcoming to all students. The involvement of students in co-creating such spaces remains paramount.

The university regrets the deliberate and misleading information in the media on the process underway in JBM. The importance of student involvement consequently calls for the distribution of accurate information in order to avoid uncertainties, misunderstandings and incorrect perceptions.

It is therefore important to state the following regarding the current renewal process in JBM Hertzog:

1. No memorabilia or photos have been removed, and no final decisions have been taken in this regard. These decisions form an integral part of the consultation process described above.

2. The name of the residence (among other symbols) is part of the consultation process. It is also important to note that all suggested name changes at the UFS are subject to the approval of the institutional Naming Committee and the University Council.

3. The perception that this process is being used to eliminate certain unique cultural identities is incorrect. However, what this process aims to achieve is a more inclusive and welcoming residence culture, and throughout this will be done in consultation with all students.

All current residents of JBM Hertzog are invited to form part of this renewal process. In conclusion, the UFS wishes to convey its appreciation to the Residence Committee members and the residents for their positive attitude and continuous support during this very important process.

Prof Jonathan Jansen
Vice-Chancellor and Rector
University of the Free State
 

Issued by: Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27(0)51 401 2584 or +27 (0) 83 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 (0) 51 444 6393

 

 

 

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