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Guide to Developing an Anti-Racist Campus Safety Force

Christine McHugh, Esq., ARM
February 2021

Why Read This

As the United States grapples with its history of racism, local municipalities and higher education institutions have been called on to re-examine their police agencies. Many colleges and universities are taking this opportunity to assess their campus climates and implement anti-racist practices for their campus safety department. These actions benefit institutions’ and communities’ well-being and help to avoid expensive losses from insurance claims due to improper practices.

This guide includes recommendations to help your campus’ administrators and public safety officers develop an anti-racist campus safety force.

Note: As of October 2023, several states have instituted laws that ban or restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at public institutions. Similar legislation is pending in other states. Please consult legal counsel to determine applicable law in your state and determine the extent to which DEI courses, offices, language, or initiatives are allowable at your institution.

Key Takeaways

  • Many campus public safety departments worked to impartial policing, but often these efforts are ineffective or not evident to the campus community.
  • Issue a statement on anti-racism and discrimination, a commitment to anti-racism, or a bias-free policing policy; doing so will clarify your campus safety department’s commitment to providing services in a fair, professional, nondiscriminatory, and equitable way.
  • The campus safety office may serve roles beyond law enforcement, and additional funds may be needed to properly support those efforts, or funds previously earmarked for law enforcement may be better directed toward other campus services.

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