In South Africa, the university is constituted by law under the Higher Education Act of 1997. This instrument, while clearly recognising the role of the university to include pedagogy, research and obligation to the republic, does not outline how the university should enact/dispense its responsibility to the republic in the same fashion that it outlines organisational audit or appointment procedures for example. What then is the obligation of the university in the face of an insidious culture of violence? How can the democratic/social role of the university be more clearly defined in situations where the university itself is also a perpetrator of violence? Considering these two questions posed, I argued that the position of the university is a state of personhood both legally (juristic personality) and morally (in loco humanus) hence the university indeed has an obligation to society. The notion of ubuntu is advanced as a possible way for the university to actualise its social role and moral obligation to the republic, especially in the face of violence.