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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

Dr Karen Lazenby appointed as Registrar: Systems and Administration
2015-11-11


Dr Karen Lazenby, Registrar: Systems and Administration

Dr Karen Lazenby, former Director: Client Service Centre at the University of Pretoria (UP), was appointed as Registrar: Systems and Administration at the University of the Free State (UFS) as from 1 November 2015. She will be responsible for student enrolment, administration and services, and International Affairs.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a person of the calibre and experience of Dr Lazenby to join the senior team to help us create a 21st century student-centred management system using the best technologies available. She is without question the leader in her field, and the UFS is delighted to have her as part of the Kovsie community,” says Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Educational background

Dr Lazenby completed the BA (1992) and Honours (1993) degrees in English (cum laude) at the University of Potchefstroom before pursuing a Diploma in Tertiary Education (1996) and a Master's Degree in Computer Integrated Education (1998) at the University of Pretoria. She obtained a PhD in Education in 2003 on the topic ‘Technology and educational innovation: A case study of the virtual campus of the University of Pretoria’ and an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town in 2006.

A track record to reckon with


Dr Lazenby started her career in higher education as a lecturer in Communication at the VaalTriangle Technikon in 1994, and was appointed as Head of Academic Staff Development the following year.  A year later, she joined Technikon SA as instructional designer at the Centre for Courseware Design and Development, and in 1997 she was appointed as Manager of Institutional Research. She was subsequently seconded to establish TSA Online and coordinate institutional technology. Dr Lazenby was appointed as a project manager at the department of Education Innovation at the University of Pretoria in 1998 where she implemented WebCT/Blackboard, online applications and payments, and student and lecturer portals (virtual campus). In 2000 she was appointed as Deputy Director: Electronic Education.

She was seconded by the UP Executive to establish the Client Service Centre in 2001 to provide integrated, efficient and effective services to students and other clients of the University. During her time as Director: Client Service Centre, she was inter alia, responsible for information and data governance, the intranet, website and call centre of the university, student recruitment, publications, application for study support, study finance, postgraduate scholarships, student accounts, payments, residence placement, access cards and parking, the graduate career office, and international student division. In 2005, she also acted as Director: Corporate Communication and Marketing.

Her vision for the UFS

“I would like to get the university's student administration to such a point that academic staff can focus on teaching and research. Streamlining the enrolment process so that we may see the necessary yield required in terms of our growth target as a university, is my other goal.” She added that capitalising on the strong international positioning of the UFS achieved by Prof Jansen, is a mission she intends to carry out. "I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Prof Jansen and the senior management team and am delighted to be part of the Kovsie community."

Dr Lazenby has published several articles and presented nineteen papers at international conferences.


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