Dear Members of the Santa Clara University Community,
This past March, Santa Clara University’s Campus Safety Services began transitioning to the Division of Student Life, as part of a process of reimagining the department that provides security to our university. That change, which was completed in July, was one of 22 recommendations from an audit of CSS conducted by retired Judge LaDoris Cordell, and shared with the University in January 2021.
In her August 17 email to the campus, Acting President Lisa Kloppenberg announced that I would be sharing an update on the progress of the audit recommendations. Below I am pleased to share a summary of the substantial progress we’ve made on five of them, as well as information on how our campus can stay informed on each of the 22 recommendations as we make our way through them.
It has been a pleasure to welcome CSS to the Division of Student Life and continue our shared work of supporting a diverse and inclusive community in a manner that fosters safety, equity, and belonging, and encourages student learning and success.
Our aspiration of creating a campus environment where we all feel valued, appreciated and safe requires a shift in culture that will take time to fully realize. However, every step forward in efforts to reshape the culture and rebuild mutual trust will have a cumulative and lasting impact on the Santa Clara community.
Over the coming months, I will reach out to provide updates and invite feedback and suggestions for our shared work. Although I have been at SCU for many years, I have learned a great deal about CSS in recent months through one-on-one meetings with the CSS staff; meetings with current students, faculty, staff, and alumni; and by reviewing the CSS website and other documents. Further analysis of data from the ~64k annual Computer Aided Dispatch entries from 2018-2020 will increase our collective understanding of the work that takes place 24/7/365 when most of us are not on campus.
As I shared with the Faculty Senate Council in June, the first phase of the transition consisted of significant information gathering. To learn what is working well at other institutions that have integrated CSS into the student life organization, a survey was sent to two local institutions (USF, St. Mary’s) as well as eight institutions outside of the Bay Area. The comprehensive survey results will inform our work moving forward.
Already, work is underway on many of the recommendations identified in the CSS Audit, with extensive progress on several of them. I use this opportunity to provide an update on five in particular:
Revise campus safety position descriptions to reflect the reimagined department’s philosophy, including the replacement of law enforcement/military titles of positions with non-law enforcement/military titles.
COMPLETE AND ONGOING. Information about CSS Functions and titles was gathered through the survey mentioned above. Position descriptions for all vacant positions have been reviewed and revised. (Campus Safety Officer [CSO], Parking and Transportation Watch Commander, Parking Control Officer and Parking and Transportation Services Office Manager, Assistant Director, Campus Safety Services.) Position descriptions for all future vacancies will be reviewed and revised prior to posting.
Discontinue room searches by campus safety.
IN PROGRESS. Information on room searches was solicited through the survey mentioned above. A small working group has been appointed to recommend changes to the current room search process. The group will review the current policy; identify any needed revisions; and recommend changes through the Student Affairs University Policy Committee. Heather Dumas-Dyer, director of residence life, chairs this working group. Timeline for completion: mid-summer for implementation in fall 2021.
Require periodic anti-bias and implicit bias training for all personnel.
IN PROGRESS. CSS personnel completed Identifying and Overcoming Implicit Bias and Obstacles to Equity and Inclusion training. Additional training will be scheduled once the eight current vacancies are filled.
Create an immediate feedback process for individuals who have had interactions with the reimagined department.
IN PROGRESS. A small working group has been appointed to advance this recommendation. The group will identify technological options for gathering immediate feedback and recommend a protocol for implementing immediate feedback options. Timeline: mid-summer to launch no later than fall.
Require periodic mental health training for all of the reimagined department’s personnel.
IN PROGRESS. Santa Clara has secured funding to bring Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to the campus beginning in the fall. Funding includes the cost to train up to 22 MHFA certified instructors. Certified instructors complete a rigorous (34-hour) virtual MHFA Adult certification program before offering campus training for students, faculty and staff, including CSS, throughout the year.
A website has been developed to track progress on each of the 22 recommendations. The site will be updated regularly and you are welcome to log in at any time to learn more about the status of a particular recommendation. Community members can also use the Ask a Question button on the site to request more information. .
Providing a safe and secure learning and work environment for our students, faculty, and staff is critical to our success. I look forward to collaborating with CSS and all members of our campus community to realize this important outcome. Thank you for your support.
Vice Provost for Student Life