The following message was sent to the Barnard community on May 17, 2019:
Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
I write to update you on Barnard’s ongoing work focused on campus safety, including the initial meetings of the Barnard Community Safety Group, the investigation into the events of April 11, 2019, and campuswide discussions.
Since my last message on April 22, the Barnard Community Safety Group has met twice. As a reminder, the Group is charged with addressing issues related to campus safety. These include concerns about racial and other forms of bias and their consequences, as well as understanding who feels welcome in different campus spaces and who does not. The goal of the Barnard Community Safety Group is to recommend and advise on necessary actions and steps that improve structures and policies for public safety relationship building, training, and community oversight.
The Community Safety Group reports directly to President Beilock and will be working throughout the next year to fulfill its charge. I have asked the new Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Ariana González Stokas, to co-chair with me to ensure the Group’s widest reach and strongest impact.
I am encouraged by the participation and commitment of the Barnard Community Safety Group’s members, who are eager to address difficult issues as we work toward change. The Group has heard clearly from the community that an understanding of historical and current patterns of exclusion is essential to safety on campus. To this end, the Group will:
- Look closely at our own history and current practices, especially with respect to any patterns of exclusion of marginalized groups.
- Review models for accountability, oversight, and trust-building around campus safety at peer institutions that share our commitment to social justice.
- Use research-driven practices to recommend inclusive systems and training so that our campus safety policies and procedures reflect our values as an institution and are equitably applied.
Below I describe some ways in which this work has already begun:
- Prior to the Community Safety Group meetings, the College held several open forums and engaged students, faculty, and staff in honest conversations about how to create the type of inclusive community we aspire to be.
- Planning is underway by the Barnard Library to continue these important forums for dialogue in the fall.
- An independent investigation began immediately after the events of April 11 and continues as I write. Once the investigation is complete, the findings will be shared with the Barnard community. While we would like answers quickly, we must also be diligent and ensure a fair and thorough assessment of what happened and what went wrong.
- The Community Safety Group allows us to move beyond the scope of the investigation in important ways that begin with bringing together faculty, students, staff, and relevant research to develop a shared sense of the meaning, mission, and practice of Public Safety at Barnard. We are in the process of gathering relevant information, and the Group will convene in full again in the fall to consider concrete steps in response to the concerns and ideas identified. In the meantime, the College is working with Public Safety to underscore that all policies and procedures are equally applied. All members of Public Safety are also receiving additional de-escalation training.
Racism and other forms of bias in our country are a challenge that we must address as an academic institution committed to promoting inclusivity and social justice in New York and across the world. Barnard is not separate from society but a part of it. Because of this, there is hard work to do to ensure that all members of our community feel heard, welcome, and respected. I am encouraged by what we’ve done so far and look forward to the next steps the Barnard community takes together.
I would like to extend special thanks to Yvette Christiansë, Interim Chair, Barnard College Council for Diversity & Inclusion; Monica Miller, Dean for Faculty and Development; and incoming Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ariana González Stokas for their wise counsel and support, both of which are proving critical in directing the work of the Community Safety Group.
Please know that as the Executive Director for Equity, I am always a reporting resource for any concerns involving bias based on any protected class, including race. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Moreover, please feel free to email email@example.com with comments, questions, concerns, or if you would like to be involved in ongoing discussions. I will share any correspondence received with the Community Safety Group.
Executive Director for Equity and Title IX Coordinator