RCSAC was created in 2020 as part of The University of Iowa’s Excellence through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan. The Committee is responsible for identifying strategies, tactics, and timelines for creating a campus community that supports the safety of all individuals, with particular attention to people who have traditionally experienced disproportionate harm from systems such as law enforcement. Matsalyn Brown is the Staff Council representative on this important campus committee. Matsalyn said, “I am proud to be selected to represent UI Staff Council on the committee. I’m serving because I believe that those who are marginalized deserve to feel safe and to be treated fairly with respect and dignity, and I hope to be a part of a positive change on campus.” The committee members include faculty, staff, and students from across campus.
As part of the process, the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee is hosting two listening sessions in February: Wednesday, February 3 and Thursday, February 11. The times and Zoom information will be announced later. Your input and feedback are needed to help build a safe and inclusive campus for every member of the university – faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
The Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee convened on July 15 and have been meeting nearly every week since then. It is chaired by Sarah Hansen, Vice President of Student Life. The committee’s work has been occurring in phases and our meetings have been centered around Design Thinking (building empathy; reframing perceived problem or challenge; encouraging collaborative work; diverge styles of thinking to explore many possibilities; explore ideas; coming up with prototypes; testing the prototypes). Theses phases included:
Phase 1: Defining the Vision
- What are the essential elements of a safe and inclusive campus? Consider all the areas and activities of the UI campus (residence halls, outdoor spaces, academic buildings, event venues, activity areas, athletics, etc.)
- In order to provide the essential elements of a safe and inclusive campus, what policies, practices, and organizational structures are needed?
- Who should perform the various duties associated with a safe and inclusive campus? Do we need a campus police force? If so, what should their scope be?
- What evidence supports or challenges our thinking about policies, practices, and structures?
Phase 2: Ideate
- Based on the answers to Phase 1, how might we create a structure that supports our vision of a safe and inclusive campus?
- What are the elements of safety that will need to be attended to? Who is best positioned to provide the services needed?
- How will we fund our vision?
- How do we communicate the values and expectations associated with our new structure?
Phase 3: Implementation
- What governance structures will provide oversight for our new vision?
- How will we monitor our progress? How will we define success?
Recommendations are due to President Harreld early this spring and the goal is to have a new structure in place by July 2021.
Astig Planning, the consulting company the committee is working with, met with six groups before the end of the semester regarding our prototypes to solicit feedback (for direction and input). These groups included the UI Diversity Councils and the Multicultural & International Students (MISSE). And now they will help the committee bring our revised prototypes to the various stakeholder groups in this new semester, including UI Staff Council.
For more information on RCSAC, please go to their website: https://vp.studentlife.uiowa.edu/initiatives/reimagining-campus-safety-action-committee/.