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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

Prof Laura Mulvey – intellectual path-breaker in international film industry
2014-07-10

Prof Laura Mulvey – currently a professor at Film and Media Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, recently visited the Bloemfontein Campus. As a tribute to her achievements, the UFS bestowed an Honorary Doctorate on her during our 2014 Winter Graduation Ceremony. In addition, two events were scheduled during which the public could get to know Prof Mulvey and her films better.

Prof Mulvey is a hugely influential figure in the international arena of film and visual media. She is globally recognised as an eminent feminist film scholar and worked at the British Film Institute for many years. During the 1970s and ‘80s she exploded onto the scene as a prominent avant-garde filmmaker.

During her visit, she joined Prof Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen) in two discussions of films – which included some of her most renowned film material.

Under the Skin of the City (Iran, 2001), directed by Rakhshan Bani-E'temad, was screened in full on Thursday 3 July 2014. The film centres on the trials and tribulations faced by an Iranian family. This award-winning film resonated with the South Africans present because of the social issues it addresses. A thought-provoking discussion followed between Profs Mulvey, Van den Oever and the audience – delving deeper into the mechanisms of the film.

On Saturday 5 July 2014, Prof Van den Oever and Prof Mulvey had another discussion – this time round the audience was treated to snippets from Prof Mulvey’s prominent films.

Her work has impacted the cultural and social sciences and not only does her critical analysis scrutinise issues of gender, but also that of race and ethnicity.

Described as ‘a key intellectual path-breaker’, Prof Mulvey’s visit left a trail of inspiration throughout our Kovsie community.

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