Office of the Provost

ANTI-RACISM INITIATIVES

Advancing Public Safety at the University of Michigan Task Force

Recent events highlight a national crisis around policing and the inherent structural racism that subjects people of color to abuse and physical harm. More broadly, policing is a public health issue with negative mental health impacts that are ubiquitous among communities of color.

In this national context, U-M students have shone a spotlight on policing on the Ann Arbor campus. Clearly there is a wide range of strongly held views and proposed actions among members of the university community – often reflecting very different experiences.


The Task Force

It is imperative for the University of Michigan’s Department of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) to make sure that all people on our campus not only are safe, but actually feel safe. With this goal in mind, and as a part of the university’s anti-racism initiatives, President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan Collins created in January 2021 a task force to assess public safety on the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus, inclusive of Michigan Medicine. The task force was formed from those who applied and from known and recognized campus leaders, and includes representation from students, faculty, staff and parents.   [Task Force Membership]

The Task Force will examine how safety and security are best achieved at the University of Michigan by conducting an initial, and to the degree possible, comprehensive review and assessment of DPSS’ current practices, identifying areas of strength and areas for concern, and providing concrete recommendations based on best practice for improvement and further study.

As the work of the task force began, it became clear that a review of public safety within the course of a semester would be challenging to complete. As such, the charge was amended to clarify expectations for the task force and for the community. Improving public safety will be an ongoing effort at the University of Michigan, and the task force will make recommendations for next steps to continue this work.


Our Work

Public engagement has been a core tenant of the task force charge. As preliminary steps in the process, the task force conducted a community forum on February 9, 2021 and conducted a community survey from February 2 - 15, 2021 to gain a better understanding of the experiences of our community with regard to public safety on campus and with DPSS specifically.

 

Task Force Focus Group

The Advancing Public Safety Task Force conducted focus groups to discuss the participants' thoughts on and interactions with the Division of Public Safety and Security and the Ann Arbor Police Department.


The Task Force welcomes all comments and questions from the community.