Dear Bruin Community:
The racial justice movements that have been sweeping the nation over the past year are prompting important and pressing discussions about the dynamics of race, racism, policing and public safety here on our campus as well as throughout the UC system. For many Bruins, these discussions took on greater urgency following LAPD’s use of the parking lot at Jackie Robinson Stadium last summer to process the arrests of peaceful protesters.
It is vital that UCLA’s public safety policies and practices protect the rights and well-being of every member of our community, fairly and respectfully. Ensuring this means taking a hard look at how we provide public safety and acknowledging that there are those who do not feel safe under our current approaches. We are committed to engaging in a process to help identify policies and practices that support public safety and a sense of belonging for the entire Bruin community.
To facilitate this process, we are commissioning an independent fact-finding review and assessment of our campus safety policies and procedures. The co-chairs of this process are two highly respected members of our community: Tyrone Howard and Rasha Gerges Shields. Professor Howard is a UCLA professor of education, Pritzker Family Endowed Chair in Education to Strengthen Families, director of UCLA’s Black Male Institute and a distinguished racial equity expert. Shields is a UCLA Law graduate, partner at the Jones Day law firm, member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Task force on racial and social justice and co-chair of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association’s diversity committee.
Beginning this month, the co-chairs will gather input and feedback from our community about experiences with policing on campus and the surrounding areas, as well as how Bruins define public safety on campus. In addition to stakeholder engagement, the co-chairs will establish a method to collect online and written feedback that will go directly to them and may be submitted anonymously.
The co-chairs may also solicit best practices and advice from scholars and experts who can help them deliver the insights that we seek. They will provide an update on their work and share findings with the campus community, allowing time for review and comment before preparing a final report. At the conclusion of their work, the co-chairs will submit a report of their findings and recommendations, including both short-term and long-term action steps, as well as establish a process for developing and implementing any new public safety measures that better serve our community. The report will be published publicly and submitted to the UC Office of the President, which is also in the process of gathering public safety data from across the system.
One of their first acts as co-chairs has also been to recommend an independent, third-party review of the June 2020 Jackie Robinson Stadium incident. We have agreed with their recommendation and they have our full support in the commissioning of this independent review.
We understand that a broad range of perspectives exists on how we might reimagine public safety at UCLA; we and the co-chairs commit to learning from all members of our community. We also recognize the importance of building trust throughout this process. We are committed to transparency as well as hearing and seriously considering all viewpoints.
We want UCLA to model best practices that embody our values, protecting the safety and respecting the rights of all in our community. There will be changes that we can make relatively quickly and others that may take more time to accomplish. Throughout this process, we will remain dedicated to respect, equity, transparency and meaningful change where needed. Thank you in advance for helping us achieve these goals for the Bruin community.
Gene D. Block
Emily A. Carter
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost