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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

UFS to host second Global Leadership Summit
2015-07-02

 

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The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) will be held at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses between 5 July and 17 July 2015.

More than 103 international delegates from various universities in Asia, the United States, and Europe, as well as 40 student delegates from the University of the Free State, are expected to attend.

Keynote speakers will include local and international academics, thought leaders, and local celebrities, such as Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Zelda le Grange and Donna Walker-Kuhne.  This is the second time that the UFS hosts the GLS. The first time was in July 2012, when it was a great success and was attended by about 160 international and local delegates. 

This year, panel discussions and workshops will focus on gender issues, citizenship and leadership, race relations and interfaith leadership. The summit will strengthen formal and informal international academic partnerships, sharing the emerging UFS international network with its partner organisations, while expanding opportunities for new cooperative initiatives, and enhancing international exposure of UFS staff and students by creating opportunities for vibrant intercultural interaction and exchange on campus. 

New possibilities for participation in international research partnerships in diverse research areas will be explored, as well as issues relating to diversity and transformation and the exchange of ideas and international experiences that contribute to the rethinking of curricula and educational approaches in Higher Education.

As part of the programme, delegates will visit the Qwaqwa Campus on 10 July 2015, where they will interact with the leadership of the campus, its staff and students and enjoy the arts and cultural experience of the Eastern Free State.  The summit will end with a visit to various sites in Bloemfontein, where delegates will engage in community-based outreach activities in disadvantaged communities around the city.

More about the Global Leadership Summit

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