Public safety task force to share preliminary recommendations


The co-chairs and members of the Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force will share preliminary commendations and recommendations related to fostering public safety on campus at the task force’s third and final community forum.

The discussion will take place virtually at 7 p.m. April 21 and the entire U-M community is encouraged to join.

“At this point, we can offer a preview of the kinds of findings and recommendations that may end up in the final report,” said Daphne C. Watkins, professor of social work, director of the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Center for Health Equity Research and Training.

Watkins co-chairs the taskforce with Earl Lewis, professor of history, Afroamerican and African studies, and public policy, and director for the Center for Social Solutions.

To explain their work thus far, the task force will share insights from the objectives articulated in the revised charge.

• Examine and assess the many ways that Division of Public Safety and Security responds to and interacts with members of our university community, including reviewing recent and trend data on DPSS activity, including complaints.

• Provide multiple venues and opportunities for stakeholders to share their positive and negative experiences and their concerns, and to intentionally seek input from students, faculty and staff of color. Input should be gathered in a variety of well-publicized ways, including through public meetings and written formats.

• Identify areas where existing data are missing or lacking, and areas where research might lead to better-informed decision making.

• Provide recommendations for ways DPSS can make improvements, based on best practices and available research; how universitywide awareness and understanding of U-M’s approach to public safety and security on campus and between the campus community and the broader Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti community can be enhanced; and areas for further study and engagement beyond the work of the task force.

Since sharing a status report in late February, the task force held a virtual forum in March, where they updated the community on their progress and answered questions. The task force has been engaged in many conversations across campus, within DPSS and with community partners over the past three months. A community survey, focus groups, benchmarking, and conversations with experts have also informed their work. 

“As we assess and analyze the data that have been available, review pertinent secondary literature, consult with experts and complete our search for answers to questions, much work remains to be completed,” Lewis said. “We are on course to offer observations, commendations and recommendations within the coming month.”

The task force was charged by President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan M. Collins to examine Ann Arbor campus public safety practices as part of a number of anti-racism initiatives.

The task force will share its final report with the president and provost by April 30.


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