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University of California vowing more equity, transparency in campus policing

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The University of California this week announced it plans to make “transformational” changes to the school’s campus safety practices by implementing new accountability measures to ensure the safety of all students.

The UC Community safety plan would set up independent police accountability boards, multidisciplinary teams for mental health and social service experts and require more public disclosure of law enforcement data.

UC President Michael V. Drake said that the school drew on “extensive input from campus safety task forces and a UC-wide symposia on safety and security, as well as feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders” in creating the plan.

“Recent events in our streets and our courts have catalyzed a powerful examination of policing, race and systemic injustice in America,” Drake, who is Black, wrote in a letter to the campus community. “This integrated, holistic approach to safety and security is a significant culture shift for UC, and one that will require all of us working together with open hearts and minds.”

He noted that the plan was a “living document” that will change when needed.

“I know these are deeply personal issues for many of you — as they are for me — and we won’t always agree on the best way to proceed,” he wrote. “But I know we can make meaningful progress by continuing to listen, collaborate and refine our approach … Creating a more just and equitable world will always be a work in progress.”

After the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd last year there had been calls for campus police to be abolished. The new plan does not go that far.

“The entire process of creating this report was a dog-and-pony show,” UC Riverside professor Dylan Rodriguez told the LA Times. “It was administrative performance … to try to create a vast public systemwide image that was responding to the massive global rebellion against police legitimacy and anti-Black police powers” last year.

Head UC Council of Police Chiefs Joe Farrow said the plan was “carefully balanced” and “well thought out,” according to the publication. 

“I’m hoping that they realize that everything doesn’t happen overnight, but we are trying,” he said.

The university is seeking to fully establish the guidelines by June 2023.

Tags policing Racism UC University of California

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