Campus Safety Summit Underway at UWC

Summit deliberations

The inaugural annual Schools and Campus Safety Summit started at the University of the Western Cape, running from the 11-14 July in Cape Town.

Before the main summit took place, a smaller pre-summit capacity development program was held to discuss various issues.

Stakeholders from the security industry, safety representatives, students and university officials took part in these discussions. Key topics included safety, residential housing, outsourcing, insourcing of security personnel and the relationship between students and conflicts that arise, like #FeesMustFall.

One important aspect that was discussed was that all relevant stakeholders believe all of them must work together to gain each other’s trust.

Daniel Carter, one of the early speakers at the discussions believes the focus should be the lack of transparency into documents relating to institutional safety. Carter, who serves as the President of the Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses, spoke extensively of the Clery Act in the USA- which dictates that all federally (government) funded institutions must make their crime statistics known among others.

He said he thinks in light of #FeesMustFall, South Africa can learn lots from the US on how to form a good dealing between students, private security and university management.

Key issues raised highlighted training as a primary concern. The training of campus security personnel plays a big role in how safe students feel at both schools and university.

Resolutions discussed include the possibility of security personnel undergoing specialised training on how to deal with university students as well as learning how to be sensitive to the needs of the LGBTIQ community, especially during critical times like student protests.

As the summit gets underway over the following days, speakers will include ministers Fikile Mbalula (Police Minister), Angie Motshega (Basic Education Minister) and Dr Blade Nzimande ( Higher Education and Training Minister).

Key among this year’s speakers will be Minister for Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, who will likely speak about what needs to be done to ensure the high rates of crimes against young women get reduced drastically.

The summit will conclude on Friday, 14 July 2017.