Dear Campus Community,
Following the killings earlier this year of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and many others, we collaborated with the Riverside Division of the Academic Senate to provide relief to students at the end of spring quarter by temporarily modifying academic regulations and by supporting faculty in being flexible and compassionate when it came to final exams. But there is much more to do, especially in response to concerns raised about physical safety on campus. I am writing today with an update.
As a campus, we stand against police brutality and other forms of systemic and institutional racism against the black community. There is no justification for racial profiling or aggressive policing of protests. We believe in promoting trust, respect, and justice for all.
I share the desire of many of you to explore alternative forms of campus safety, including new tactics and means of providing protection. I understand that the visible presence of armed police officers in standard uniforms on campus can create stress for many, including our students, staff, and faculty who may come from communities where law enforcement is more threatening than helpful.
The time has come for our campus community to collaborate and rethink our relationship to campus safety and security. We are exploring opportunities for greater change and invite our campus to engage in the conversation.
To begin addressing your concerns, I make these commitments:
1. We will ensure there is a committee of diverse campus stakeholders, including students, charged with reimagining the role of policing on a university campus and incorporating accountability mechanisms.
2. We will evaluate resource allocation to UCPD and the potential for the police to partner with mental health professionals and others in first response functions when needed
3. We will assess the standard uniform and weapons worn by campus public safety officers and identify options
4. We will review education and training on anti-racism, profiling, social justice and more for existing personnel
5. We will continue the work of the reconstituted Black Student Experience Working Group indefinitely.
Our commitment does not stop here. This is only the beginning. We must and will do better. I look forward to continuing our discussions to provide a safe, supportive environment for Black students, and welcome your feedback on how UCR can combat systemic and individual racism in our community.