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Community Safety Review

Our Commitment:

We commit to reviewing our overall approach to community safety. In addition to our commitment to assessing the oversight and operations of the Department of Safety & Security, we will review our University policies, procedures and processes related to creating and supporting a safe and healthy community. This includes the Student Code of Conduct, residence hall policies and procedures, and overall University policies to ensure that these guidelines do not disproportionately impact our marginalized community members.

Community Safety Advisory Board

The Board encompasses a broad range of voices from the Northwestern community and serves as the principal channel to share community feedback on safety.

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Fall Quarter 2021 Update

During the Winter Quarter, the Community Safety Advisory Board (CSAB) reviewed results of an external review of the Department of Safety and Security. That dialogue resulted in the CSAB issuing initial proposals to University leadership to initiate changes. The University then established working groups that spent the Spring Quarter analyzing questions posed by the CSAB and developing recommendations on how to enact each of these proposals. 

Actions the University is taking include:

  • The unarmed, civilian Community Service Officer function is transitioning from being led by security personnel to civilian leadership. This represents a shift of $1.2 million from the armed security budget to the purview of civilian leaders.
  • Leaders are evaluating operational models to assign tasks away from police and toward unarmed civilian staff units, such as the previously announced mental health counselor team or Facilities, to minimize the visible presence and dispatch of armed officers on campus.
  • Complaints about members or actions of Safety and Security will now go to University Compliance to foster independent oversight and investigation by civilian leadership. Complainants will receive an update of the outcomes of an investigation and can request independent review of an investigation if a process deficiency is identified. Oversight of remediation or corrective actions will be conducted by a central office (e.g., Human Resources) rather than Safety and Security.

The CSAB is providing the opportunity for you to provide your thoughts and feedback confidentially to inform future discussions.

Spring Quarter 2021 Update

As we shared in March, we are working toward action on Community Safety Advisory Board proposals by June 30. Meanwhile, one immediate change has been that complaints about campus safety services no longer route through the Department of Safety and Security, as recommended, and instead now route through University Compliance. More updates will be shared this summer about progress on the recommendations.

Winter Quarter 2021 Update

Community Safety Advisory Board Reviewing Public Safety Recommendations

The Community Safety Advisory Board (CSAB) has begun discussing recommendations from the independent review of the Department of Safety and Security published March 2021. The CSAB will continue to meet regularly to advise on the external reviewers’ recommendations and to make further recommendations. They will draw upon their community experiences at Northwestern, in particular the experiences of our marginalized and disadvantaged community members. The CSAB’s counsel will inform the steps the University will take to build a more inclusive, supportive, and just vision of public safety. View the Actions, Progress and Updates page for regular updates from the Community Safety Advisory Board.

Fall Quarter 2020 Update

Community Safety Advisory Board

A newly established Community Safety Advisory Board, announced Oct. 27, will begin to consider the many dimensions of campus safety, embrace student voices and strengthen ties across the University. On Nov. 13, Dr. Clyde Yancy of the Feinberg School of Medicine was announced as chair the Advisory Board with board membership including student, faculty and staff representatives.

Community Conversations Series

Senior leaders have launched a new series of listening sessions called “Community Conversations” during the Fall and Winter Quarter covering a range of issues around safety, well-being and equity. The sessions are designed to provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to share their thoughts on campus safety and security should look like.

View Northwestern Now Coverage