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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 graduates encouraged to continue their legacy
2016-04-25

Description: Autumn graduation 2016 Tags: Autumn graduation 2016

A total of 3681 qualifications, from seven different faculties, were conferred between 12 to 15 April 2016 at the University of the Free State Autumn Graduations on the Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Evert Kleynhans

Photo Gallery
Graduation Video Clip 

“You cannot let your legacy stop here. Use your qualifications to change the life of others.”

This was the call from Dr Muavia Gallie, a guest speaker at one of the Autumn Graduations on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS). He is a School-Turnaround strategist and educational activist.

He was the speaker on 12 April 2016 at the Faculty of Education graduation ceremony in the Callie Human Centre. According to Dr Gallie and other speakers at the graduations, graduates need to use their qualifications for the good of South Africa.

A diverse group of graduates

A total of 3681 qualifications were conferred in seven faculties between 12 and 15 April 2016, the week of ceremonies comprising eight sessions. It was four days of festivities with friends and families gathering to celebrate with graduates.

The large number of graduates consisted of a diverse group. According to Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, the group passing with distinctions was also much more diverse than in past years, especially in the number of female students.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, said graduation ceremonies remain the most special days on the UFS calendar.

A total of 22 students from the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support also graduated during the week.

Work for next generation

Sello Hatang, the speaker on 12 April 2016 at the Faculties of Health Sciences, Law, and Theology ceremony, echoed Dr Gallie’s sentiments; “As you leave this university, your work begins for the next generation; to serve the people you care about in any way possible,” said Hatang, the Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Other speakers included Dawie Roodt, the most referenced economist in the media in 2015, at the ceremony of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences on 14 April 2016. The speaker on 15 April 2016 at the ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities was Nikiwe Bikitsha, one of South Africa’s leading journalists and broadcasters.

Achievers

In the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Madri Brink (Baccalaureus Scientiae Agriculture) received a Senate Medal for the best four-year Baccalaureus degree, while Kyla Hayter (Baccalaureus Scientiae Honores) won the Senate Medal for the best Honours student at the UFS. Willem Carel Brink from the Faculty of Humanities received a Senate Medal for the best three-year Baccalaureus Degree.

Deans’ medals awarded by the UFS.

Also see videos of the respective guest speakers:
Dr Muavia Gallie
Sello Hatang
Dawie Roodt
Nikiwe Bikitsha

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