Students, faculty and staff:
Earlier this summer, we wrote you to share our thoughts on the death of George Floyd and the toxic impact of racism on communities across the country.
In that message, we reaffirmed KU’s commitment to fight racism and discrimination, and to take action to pursue social justice. Additionally, we outlined five steps to effect change locally, the first of which is to convene KU and Lawrence leaders to discuss local policing with the goal of proposing steps to enhance public safety in the KU community.
Today, we embark on that first step by creating the Task Force on Community-Responsive Public Safety. This new task force will be charged with reviewing KU Public Safety policies, practices and procedures; examining national best practices and proposals for change; and making recommendations to the Office of the Chancellor regarding potential improvements to ensure respectful, transparent and community-responsive public safety services.
The task force will comprise approximately 25 students, faculty and staff from across the university and be chaired by KU Distinguished Professor Charles Epp. Professor Epp’s expertise in law, social change and administrative reform – with a particular emphasis on rights and racial discrimination – will be of tremendous value to this initiative.
Additionally, Lawrence Mayor Jennifer Ananda and Lawrence City Manager Craig Owens will engage with the task force during a series of community listening events in September, and also receive the task force’s recommendations at the end of the process.
The task force will convene at the start of the fall semester and conclude by November, at which point they will share their recommendations with me. Additional information about the task force – including a schedule of public events and an online form for you to provide suggestions to the group – will be available on the Task Force on Community-Responsive Public Safety website soon.
The University of Kansas has benefited immensely over the years from having its own on-campus public safety office, and will continue to do so. We look forward to being part of the much-needed national movement to reexamine policing and public safety to ensure that our practices are sound, equitable and just.
Douglas A. Girod
Task Force Members
- Alex Villagran, Graduate Student, School of Public Affairs
- Aramis Watson, Associate Director, KU Student Housing
- Azja Butler, Undergraduate Student
- Bulaong Malika Ramiz, Director, Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity
- Caleb Bobo, KU Alumnus
- Chris Keary, Chief of KU Public Safety
- D.A. Graham, University Ombuds
- Dan Beckler, Associate Athletics Director, Kansas Athletics
- Darin Beck, Director of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center
- David McCormack, Undergraduate Student Representative
- Deborah Dandridge, Kansas Collection Librarian, KU Libraries
- Emilio Santana, Undergraduate Student Representative
- Jason Matejkowski, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs, School of Social Welfare
- Jennifer Ng, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity
- Kim Warren, Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of History
- Lua Yuille, Professor, School of Law and Faculty Senate President
- Precious Porras, Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity and Director of the Office for Multicultural Affairs
- Robert Waller, KU Budget Office, Staff Senate Representative
- Sanjay Mishra, Professor, School of Business and University Senate President
- Sarah Deer, Professor, School of Public Affairs and Administration and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences- Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
- Shawn Alexander, Chair and Professor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of African and African American Studies
- Student Senate Designee (to be determined)
- Tammara Durham, Vice Provost for Student Affairs
(Note: One or two additional students may be added to the task force in the days ahead.)