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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

Campus-wide poll to determine preferences among current staff and students for language models
2015-10-20

Language poll postponed until Thursday 22 October 2015

Due to the closing down of all UFS campuses on Wednesday 21 October 2015, the language poll has been postponed until Thursday 22 October 2015.

 

Invitation to take part in a campus-wide poll to determine preferences among current staff and students for language models.

As mandated by the Council on 5 June 2015, the senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) has committed itself to a formal review process of the current language policy through a comprehensive process of consultation with all university stakeholders.

Since 19 August 2015, the following public sessions have taken place across all three campuses:

  • Public dialogue for staff and students, Qwaqwa Campus, 19 August 2015
  • Staff submissions, Bloemfontein Campus, 20 August 2015
  • External stakeholder submissions, Bloemfontein Campus, 24 August 2015
  • Public dialogue for staff and students, South Campus, 26 August 2015
  • Alumni submissions, Bloemfontein Campus, 27 August 2015
  • Expert panel discussion for staff and students with Q&A, Bloemfontein Campus, 31 August 2015
  • Staff, students, and external stakeholder submissions, Qwaqwa Campus, 9 September 2015
  • Panel discussion and public dialogue for students, Bloemfontein Campus, 10 September 2015
  • Expert panel discussion for staff and students with Q&A, Bloemfontein Campus, 11 September 2015
  • Student submissions, Bloemfontein Campus, 15 September 2015
  • Staff and student submissions, South Campus, 16 September 2015
  • Convocation submissions, Bloemfontein Campus, 30 September 2015

Further, written and online submissions from the entire university community were put forward until 18 September 2015, while the Convocation had until 30 September 2015 to submit. During the process, the Language Committee has met weekly and discussed the viability, benefits and challenges of various language model options, taking into account institutional, regional, national and global concerns, documents and information.

Following the university’s commitment to open, democratic practice, the UFS calls upon all its current staff and students to participate in a campus-wide poll in order to assist the Language Committee in determining possible preferences among current staff and students for language models. The possible models have emerged from the broad consultation process.

Please note that the campus-wide poll is NOT a formal voting process or referendum and will form only one part of many deciding factors that will be referred to the UFS Council on 20 November 2015 for their deliberations regarding the future of the language policy at the UFS. The poll, conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), will be indicative of the preferences of staff and students for possible language model options, with specific focus on language of instruction. 

The poll will take place at the following venues from 21-28 October 2015, 08:00-16:30, including the weekend:

Bloemfontein Campus: Kestell Residence Gazellie

Qwaqwa Campus: VIP Lounge

South Campus: Conference Hall

To take part in the polling, a valid staff or student card must be produced. Polling will take place on the basis of one poll per current staff member/student.

We look forward to your participation in the poll and hereby thank the entire university community for their ongoing interest and responsible engagement with the review process.

 The UFS Language Committee

 

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