3 prototypes of new campus safety models developed for review
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in the feedback deadline from March 5 to March 12.

The University of Iowa is asking community members for feedback on three campus safety prototypes developed by the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee. The committee, created in summer 2020 after national and local protests against police brutality and its impact on people of color, is working to create a shared vision for a safe and inclusive campus for all members of the community.

The three prototypes were developed from weeks of dialogue with the campus community to understand how different people experience safety and law enforcement and studying the context of policing nationally and locally. Conversations culminated in two virtual town halls hosted in early February.

Interested individuals are encouraged to view the prototypes and provide feedback before March 12.

Recommendations will be presented to President Bruce Harreld before the end of the spring semester.

“There is no single solution to a safe and inclusive campus. Our evolution to a safer campus for all will require multiple strategies, implemented systematically, and continuous community dialogue,” says Sarah Hansen, vice president for student life and chair of the committee. “The prototypes developed by the committee are not the end but rather the start of our campus improvement process.”

The prototypes highlight a variety of components in a potential campus safety structure. Some of these constituent components may be combined or connected, but each structural approach has its own unique elements. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to provide their feedback to the committee.

The three prototypes are:

  • Refocusing Accountability and Retraining for Campus Police Service
  • Holistic Approach to Campus Safety
  • Community-Police Oversight Committee

About the prototypes

Refocusing Accountability and Retraining Campus Police Service
This prototype calls for a reimagining of focus and structure of police response at Iowa. The prototype establishes a difference between imminent threats to safety and incidents where a care and wellness approach is necessary, such as incidents related to mental health, substance abuse, or other non-criminal concerns. The prototype also creates a campus community wellness division that would be staffed by well-being advocates with backgrounds in advocacy, social work, mental health service, or other similar areas of expertise. The wellness division would handle non-criminal calls for service.

Learn more and give feedback.

Holistic Approach to Campus Safety
This prototype proactively invests in and supports student health and well-being, centralized support and resources for students, and utilizes alternative first responders. This model of campus safety moves away from and minimizes the traditional response of campus police officers to a community and campus prevention and response system by utilizing community resources to provide safety and support. Safety would come from a robust and well-funded social network of assistance. When an incident arises, a variety of campus and community partners would respond with resources and support rather than armed police officers.

Learn more and give feedback.

Community-Police Oversight Committee
This prototype establishes an oversight committee to ensure antiracist campus safety practices. This approach is designed to ensure university police and other entities are fully accountable to the university community. This would increase the trust required to have a community where everyone feels safe. By reviewing past patterns of practice and recommending new research-based best practices, this group would improve trust by providing oversight and new perspectives from members in the community best suited to consider equity and inclusion.

Learn more and give feedback.

About the committee

The Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee is tasked with identifying strategies, tactics, and a timeline for creating a safer and inclusive campus. The group, chaired by Hansen, includes 24 members with a range of viewpoints, roles, and professions: undergraduate and graduate students; staff with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion, threat assessment, and student success; shared governance representatives; the UI Department of Public Safety; and faculty members with research expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion, policing of communities of color, deliberative dialogues, and organizational change.