Dear Carolina Community,
Last month, I wrote to you announcing the actions my leadership team and I are taking to help nurture an environment where all people in our community can live, learn and work without fear. Our University has a history of successfully navigating tough issues, and we will come together to foster an inclusive culture in which all members of our community feel safe, like they belong, and can flourish. Today, I want to update you on our progress.
First, I have held a series of listening and learning sessions with several campus and community groups over the past several weeks, including the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, Carolina Black Caucus, Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, Faculty Executive Committee, and forums with local NAACP members, the Hillel community and our graduate students. Through these meetings, I have received valuable feedback about how we can improve equity and inclusion on campus, while working to eradicate racism, extremism, and all forms of hate. I will continue these conversations over the next several months and welcome your feedback.
Second, I am announcing additional details about our Campus Safety Commission. This commission will take a broad look at all aspects of community safety, including the need to build stronger relationships and communication between our campus community and campus police, and a better understanding of the safety and security needs and concerns of the larger campus community.
The Campus Safety Commission will serve as advisors who provide vision and guidance about campus policing policies, practices, and related actions to the University. It will facilitate communication among members of our community, relay information and concerns, and work to develop a mutual understanding of roles and expectations between the community and campus police. This effort will be a highly collaborative partnership that provides recommendations about the safety and security needs of our diverse campus community.
Commission members represent a broad range of constituencies and bring a wide variety of experiences to this work. All appointments will be for two academic years, and all members are eligible for two terms of reappointment. Student appointments may vary in length depending on their graduation dates. We may add other members in the future.
Members of the Campus Safety Commission are:
- Frank Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences
- Emily Blackburn, undergraduate student and former student body vice president
- Robert L. Campbell, minister and former president, Chapel Hill-Carrboro (Orange County) Chapter of the NAACP
- Brian Curran, former chief, Chapel Hill Police Department
- De’Ivyion Drew, undergraduate student
- Manny Garcia, undergraduate student
- Michael Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law, School of Law
- Lawrence Grossberg, interim director of graduate studies; co-director of the university program in cultural studies; distinguished adjunct professor of American studies; Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
- Manny Hernandez, Ph.D. candidate, department of geography, College of Arts & Sciences; outgoing president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation
- Jim Herrington, executive director of emerging partnerships and professor of the practice of health behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health
- Mary Beth Koza, executive director, Office of Environment, Health and Safety
- Richard Myers, Henry Brandis Distinguished Professor of Law, School of Law
- DeVetta Holman Nash, resiliency and student support programs coordinator, Office of Student Wellness
- Desirée Rieckenberg, dean of students, Office of the Dean of Students
- Quinton Smith, doctoral student, School of Social Work
- Charles Streeter, database analyst, Office of Student Affairs Information Technology, and former chair, Employee Forum
- Kim Strom-Gottfried, director, Office of Ethics Education and Policy Management; Smith P. Theimann Distinguished Professor for Ethics and Professional Practice, School of Social Work
- Charles Branson Vickory, attorney from Mount Olive, North Carolina and former district attorney
- Brandon Washington, director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office
- Maya Weinstein, professional student, School of Law
I am extraordinarily grateful to these individuals for agreeing to serve on the Campus Safety Commission and for their feedback on this important topic. Members of the commission will meet monthly during the academic year and once over the summer. The first meeting will take place in early May. Please join me in thanking these newly appointed members for their service to our community.
Finally, we have retained an outside consultant to conduct a review of several incidents that have occurred on our campus over the past weeks and months so we can better understand the facts and incorporate lessons learned to strengthen our processes for best policing and emergency management practices. We will work closely with our emergency management and public safety officials, the Campus Safety Commission and our future police chief to implement recommendations that emerge from these reviews. We will keep the campus community apprised of these recommendations and actions moving forward.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz