‘Must be safe and feel safe’: UC Office of President releases safety plan for campuses

Infographic depicting UC Community Safety Plan guidelines
Flora Huynh/Staff

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The UC Office of the President, or UCOP, released its UC Community Safety Plan, which prioritizes transparency and accountability.

The plan was created based on detailed discussions with chancellors and feedback from UC Berkeley safety task groups, faculty, alumni, students and other stakeholders, according to UCOP spokesperson Stett Holbrook.

UC President Michael Drake organized two UC-wide symposia on campus safety and policing in early 2021 to hear community members’ perspectives. A draft of the UC Community Safety Plan was also shared with those members in June during a 30-day period for additional comment or feedback, Holbrook added.

In a video addressing the safety plan, Drake said its formation started with community members sharing different points of view.

“Though we may have had different perspectives, we all agree on one thing — we must put the UC community at the heart of our safety and security practices,” Drake said in the video. “People must be safe and feel safe.”

The safety plan’s action items have a timeline for completion, which is designed to foster collaboration and community engagement, according to Holbrook.

Holbrook also noted that while complex action items will take longer to complete, some are expected to be accomplished early in the fall semester.

Drake is also allocating funds for various parts of the safety plan such as the establishment of a UC-wide data dashboard, Holbrook explained. Individual campuses will fund parts of the safety plan’s guidelines.

The safety plan also intends to change the role of UCPD at UC Berkeley.

University Health Services will replace UCPD as first responders for individuals in a mental health crisis, according to Vice Chancellor Marc Fisher in a campus press release.

Campus will also be using a tiered police response model where ambassadors who do not carry weapons will patrol campus and ensure community safety, the press release added.

Holbrook noted that implementation of the safety plan will be left up to individual UC campuses.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore explained that there is an overlap between the safety plan’s guidelines and some of campus’s current initiatives, but the safety plan also introduces recommendations for policy changes.

“In the coming weeks, we will be reviewing the President’s plan to determine how best to implement and integrate it with work already underway at Berkeley,” Gilmore said in an email.

Contact Rina Rossi at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @RinaRossi8.