Dear Campus Community,
For many years, we have been striving at UC Riverside to redefine campus safety in a way that addresses the needs of our diverse community. Through the Black Student Task Force (BSTF), we began important conversations across campus in 2015. Then, following the UC Presidential Task Force on University Policing 2019 recommendations and 2020 implementation reports, we began to put in place accountability and transparency measures.
Yet, we recognized that these efforts were just the beginning. In September 2020, on the recommendation from the Black Student Experience Work Group (BSEWG) for additional changes and following continuing police violence against Black Americans, we formed the Campus Safety Task Force and they have now submitted their report.
After receiving that report, I endorse their guiding principles and accept their nine recommendations, which are available on the task force website and summarized below this message.
Following those recommendations, we will proceed with these next steps:
• Effective immediately, we have halted any hiring for UCPD openings, including the Chief of Police.
• A comprehensive assessment of campus safety needs will be completed by May 1, co-led by Interim Provost Tom Smith and Vice Chancellor and CFO Gerry Bomotti.
• Upon her arrival on May 1, Incoming Provost Liz Watkins will be appointed chair of a newly-formed Chancellor’s Campus Safety Committee.
• Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mariam Lam will serve as chair of the Campus Safety Accountability Board, which will replace the UCPD Campus Community Advisory Board, and will regularly provide community updates through reports, an online dashboard, and ongoing public dialogue.
We are grateful to all members of the UCR community who provided input and engagement throughout this process. A special thanks is due to distinguished alumnus Jack Clarke ’80 who served as chair of the Campus Safety Task Force, as well as the other members who contributed time and service to this important endeavor.
Finally, it is important to note that while we are taking first steps toward meaningful change, we are not at the end of our review. We still have more to do and will implement additional recommendations and actions after further assessment.
Kim A. Wilcox,
CAMPUS SAFETY TASK FORCE GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Systemic racism exists in U.S. society and in policing, and must be eliminated wherever possible.
2. Campus safety must address the needs of UCR’s diverse student body and community, including those who feel less safe in the presence of UCPD and other law enforcement agencies.
3. Evidence-based alternatives to traditional law enforcement that demonstrably improve, not degrade, public safety must be pursued.
4. UCPD must be held to a higher standard than traditional law enforcement agencies.
5. The work of the Campus Safety Task Force is only a first step toward improving public and campus safety.
Re-imagining Campus Safety
• Integrate UCR’s Police Department into a more comprehensive Campus Safety Division.
• Integrate campus safety activities, including prevention and response, more deliberately with existing campus-based programs that address issues such as mental health, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and drug or alcohol abuse.
• Create and implement a Chancellor-appointed standing committee to continually review best practices on campus and community safety and monitor and evaluate the implementation of the task force’s recommendations.
Campus Safety Training, Personnel, and Oversight
• Improve recruitment, training, and retention efforts to address implicit bias and related infractions or misconduct.
• Conduct a comprehensive assessment of UCR campus safety needs, and align personnel funding based on at least five years of data.
• Reconfigure the current UCPD Campus Community Advisory Board or create a separate body, which will increase communication of key data in order to facilitate community dialogue and strengthen public accountability measures.
Collaboration with the City and County of Riverside and Campus-Based Entities
• Pilot a restorative justice program to address misdemeanors on the UCR campus.
• Work collaboratively with the City of Riverside, UCR’s School of Medicine and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to develop and implement innovative regional partnerships to address mental health issues.
• Collaborate with City and County of Riverside and UCR’s Student Affairs Division and Governmental and Community Relations Office to improve and invest in services related to basic needs, mental health, and homelessness with investment directed toward marginalized and highly vulnerable communities.